Double jeopardy repeal enables retrial for Stephen Lawrence murder
By Bhavisha Parekh
The ‘double jeopardy’ rule did not allow for a defendant to be tried for the same crime again and again. Therefore, the accused did not have to endure the strain and stress of a trial after a verdict had already been reached. The double jeopardy rule essentially existed to protect the defendant, and save court and police time.
In 2003 the Criminal Justice Act allowed for a retrial to be called if there was new and compelling evidence, and in 2005, this was further expanded to allow for retrials if it is within the public’s interest. However, every retrial has to be approved by the director of public persecutions.
This law is now being used to allow for the retrial of the Stephen Lawrence case. Stephen Lawrence was murdered in 1993 whilst he waited for a bus in Eltham, London. New scientific evidence has come to light which passes the double jeopardy test and enables a retrial to go ahead.
The benefit of the double jeopardy test is that scientific and technological advancements that occur can be used to address cases that were not proven due to a lack of evidence. However the prosecution solicitors will be under tremendous pressure when retrying a case as they will need to be very sure about a case before they begin, further if these cases are very old as then there is a risk of contamination of the evidence, and therefore the risk of it being unreliable.
If you feel that this law can assist you in gaining justice then speak to a criminal law solicitor as soon as possible. The quicker you act in getting the evidence to court the better of chances of having a successful conviction.
For details of a criminal law firm local to you please call Contact Law on 0800 1777 162.
Bhavisha Parekh is one of Contact Law's most experienced and knowledgeable telephone advisors.
- Last Updated on 12/02/2013