Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie... rights of victims first
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie... rights of victims first Tom Huntley

Acquitted could face second case for murder in Qld

NEW retrospective laws will mean fresh evidence in Queensland cold cases committed before 2007 could result in acquitted people being tried again for crimes such as murder.

The proposed double jeopardy reforms, which will be introduced into Queensland Parliament next week, mean acquitted people can no longer "get away with murder".

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said the amendment was missed when double jeopardy law changes were passed through most parliaments across Australia in 2007.

He said he did not expect the move would "open the floodgates" but would enable police to test cold cases in the supreme court.

Announcing the move at the Queensland Homicide Awareness Day, Mr Bleijie said there had been many technological advancements with DNA and other forensic testing that had furthered police cases.

"We live in 2014 … why should someone who was acquitted 20 years ago, but now there's fresh and compelling evidence based on modern technology, why should they get away with murder or other serious crimes?" he said.

"We could be dealing with matters that happened just prior to 2007, we could be dealing with offences committed 10, 20, 30, 40 years ago or into the future, of course.

"This is about balancing the scales of justice and putting victims first."

Mr Bleijie said if the supreme court was convinced new evidence was fresh and compelling, then a person would be retried regardless of when they were acquitted or when the offence occurred.

As the law stands now, a person who accused of a relevant offence in 2006 but not acquitted until 2009 would be safe from retrial because they were acquitted after 2007 double jeopardy law changes.

"This about the community seeing justice being done rather than victims waiting around because of a law that's existed for some 800 years," he said.

"It's a sensible solution and it's only going to be used where says it's going to make a difference."

As well as murder cases, the new laws will allow for past offences with 25 years or more imprisonment if the original acquittal is tainted.

The Queensland Police Service and Director of Public Prosecutions will be responsible for assessing the merits of any proposed re-trial application and any decision about re-investigation.

The LNP has increased the mandatory non-parole period from 15 years to 20 years for murder, and from 20 to 30 years for double murders.



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