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Is there double jeopardy law in NSW?

Is there double jeopardy law in NSW?

Is There Double Jeopardy Law In NSW?

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Double jeopardy is when a person is tried or punished for the same offence twice. For example, in Australia, it is a defence that an accused person who has already been tried and convicted or acquitted upon an indictment for a specific offence cannot be charged with the same offence again.

The Rule

This Rule against double jeopardy (the Rule) has its genesis in three related principles of legal theory:

  • The ancient doctrines of autrefois acquit and convict. The Autrefois principles were a complete defence to any fresh charge.
  • The Rule that a person should not be tried for a second time on substantially the same facts; and
  • That the Court can act to prevent prosecution if the result is an unfair trial.

The General Exceptions

The general exceptions to the Rule of double jeopardy in NSW are;

  • There must be new/fresh and compelling evidence,
  • It must be a life sentence offence (NSW), and
  • In all the circumstances, it is in the interests of justice for the order to be made.
Leading Cases

The leading case in Australia on the double jeopardy issue is The Queen v Carrol [2002] HCA 55. Carroll was accused of sexually abusing and murdering a 17-month-old baby. The baby’s body was found on a roof of a public park toilet. He pleaded not guilty to the charge and was found guilty by a jury 12 years later. This was partially due to evidence of a bite mark on the leg.

More than 14 years after Carrol’s murder trial, he was indicted for perjury. He was found guilty of perjury, but on appeal to the High Court, the conviction was quashed. This was a result of the double jeopardy rule.

This was the worst crime that led Australia to rethink the legal principle of double jeopardy.

Does double jeopardy apply to my case?

Whether it applies to your case or not is an issue of both fact and law. It would be best if you spoke to a criminal lawyer to obtain advice.


  • Mohammad Khan | Criminal Defence Lawyer

    Mohammad Khan is the Principal Solicitor of Lyons Law Group. After graduating with a Bachelor of Aviation from the University of New South Wales, Mohammad took a keen interest in the law. He began training in criminal law under the tutelage of Australia’s leading criminal lawyer Adam Houda and studied law at the University of Sydney.