INDEPENDENT NEWS

Goff calls for change in law on double jeopardy

Published: Mon 27 Sep 1999 11:45 AM
Labour justice spokesperson Phil Goff says that the law on double jeopardy should not protect offenders who escape conviction by perverting the course of justice.
Double jeopardy protects an accused person from being tried again on a charge for which they have previously been acquitted.
"It is a travesty when a Black Power member, Kevin Moore, has literally got away with murder by intimidating a witness so that they lied in Court for him.
"But for the perjury of the witness, Kevin Moore would now be serving life for murder. Instead he has been sentenced for the lesser term of seven years, the maximum sentence for conspiring to defeat the course of justice.
"As a consequence he will serve only five years because of the automatic parole at two thirds of the sentence, rather than the minimum 10 years he would have spent in prison for murder.
"Whatever the justification for the law on double jeopardy, it ought not to serve to protect from justice someone whose original acquittal was because they perverted the course of justice.
"Either an exemption should be made to the law in these circumstances or the maximum penalty for conspiring to defeat the course of justice should be doubled so that it is similar to the law applying to the most serious crime.
"If no change is made, there is a clear incentive for those who have committed serious crimes to use threats and intimidation to avoid conviction. Protection from double jeopardy, in this instance is not warranted," Mr Goff said.

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