Rethinking double jeopardy

5 January 2012

David Norris and Gary Dobson were convicted and sentenced for the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence this week. In an article for online magazine The Justice Gap, Garden Court North Chambers’ Mark George QC writes about the change in double jeopardy law which allowed this trial to go ahead.

In his article, Mark looks back to the historical origins of double jeopardy and contrasts the domestic position with that in the United States, “where it was regarded so fundamental that it was enshrined in the Fifth Amendment (‘nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb’™)”.

He explains that “the range of cases that can be re-tried as a result of the change in the law is limited…the interests of the accused are protected by the procedures that the prosecution have to initiate”.

Mark George QC is a barrister and Head of Chambers at Garden Court North Chambers.

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