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The Rule Against Double Jeopardy


Its Tragic Demise in New South Wales
A Tale of Woe
Another Victim of the Law 'n’ Order Regime

by Andrew Haesler
Public Defender
June 2003


This paper was presented to the Lawyers Reform Association Seminar Series 18 June 2003




The Proposal
In February 2003 as part of the ‘Tough on Crime’ election campaign the Premier of NSW announced that in its next term, the Government would abolish the common law Rule against Double Jeopardy.

The proposals are modelled on recent ‘reforms’ in England contained in their Criminal Justice Bill 2002 (UK). They will apply to homicide (murder and manslaughter offences) and offences, such as gang rape and serious drug supply, carrying life in prison as a maximum penalty. They will be retrospective. They will include, so the press release said, “important safeguards”:
“The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) would need to give consent for the defendant to be reinvestigated;
Where compelling fresh evidence emerges that could not reasonably have been made available at the first trial that strongly suggest guilt the DPP would be able to apply to the Court of Criminal Appeal to quash the acquittal;
The Court of Criminal Appeal would have the power to quash the acquittal and order a retrial where there is compelling new evidence of guilt and it is in the interests of justice to do so; and
There would be only one retrial.”

The issue had received media prominence following the High Court’s decision in The Queen v Raymond John Carroll (2002) 77 ALJR 157 [2002] HCA 55. Carroll originally acquitted on appeal of the murder of a young baby in 1985 (R v Carroll (1985) 19 ACR 410). He was later prosecuted for perjury based on an allegation his denial on oath, given in evidence at his murder trial, was a lie. The Queensland Court of Appeal set aside the conviction (R v Carroll [2001] QCA 394). The DPP appealed. The High Court concluded that the trial should have been stayed, as it was an abuse of process.

Following the re-election of the Carr Government in March 2003 it has been announced that a Consultation Draft Bill will be released in June or July. A retired Judge will review comments and submissions. A Bill is scheduled for introduction into Parliament in the Spring Session.

The Rule
There has been a long-standing principle that a person should not be tried twice for the same offence or for events arising out of and related to that offence.

This Rule against double jeopardy (the Rule) has its genesis in three related principles of legal theory:
      1. The ancient doctrines of autrefois acquit and convict. The Autrefois principles were a complete defence to any fresh charge. To operate the offence must be the same in law and fact;
      2. The rule that a person should not be tried for a second time on substantially the same facts. In the UK this is know as the Connolly principle (See R v Connolly [1964] AC 1254 and R v Beedie [1998] QB 356.) The Queen v Carroll reinforced this rule. As the UK Law Commission’s Consultation Paper 156; Double Jeopardy: A Summarypointed out (at [8]) this rule is but part of a more general principle;
      3. That the Court can act to prevent a prosecution if the result will be an unfair trial.
The disparate nature and effect of the Rule was made clear by the Chief Justice and Justice Hayne in The Queen v Carroll at [9]:

“The expression "double jeopardy" can give rise to difficulty if the sense in which it is being used is not made clear. As was pointed out in Pearce v The Queen (1998) 194 CLR 610 at [9]:

          "The expression 'double jeopardy' is not always used with a single meaning. Sometimes it is used to refer to the pleas in bar of autrefois acquit and autrefois convict; sometimes it is used to encompass what is said to be a wider principle that no one should be 'punished again for the same matter' Wemyss v Hopkins (1875) LR 10 QB 378 at 381 per Blackburn J. Further, 'double jeopardy' is an expression that is employed in relation to several different stages of the criminal justice process: prosecution, conviction and punishment."

          As was also pointed out in Pearce, at [14] because double jeopardy is an expression used in connection with several different stages of the process of criminal justice and because there are other (sometimes competing) forces at work in the area, the treatment of double jeopardy has not always been clearly based on identified principles. As the criminal law has become more complex, it has become even more important to examine those principles upon which the disparate principles encompassed by the expression double jeopardy are based if it is said that one or more of those principles is engaged in a particular case


The general Rule reflects the importance given by our legal system to the finality of verdicts in the resolution of disputes, particularly the status conferred by an acquittal.
It also reflects a number of other important considerations:
That a person should not be harassed by multiple prosecutions about the same issue,
The fact that the powers and resources of the State as prosecutor are much greater than those of any individual;
The fact that prosecution has in the past and may in the future be used as an instrument of “tyranny”,
That trials are by nature stressful for all concerned,
The serious consequences of conviction and
One of the fundamentals of our system of law and justice that a verdict of acquittal should be treated final and not subject to further investigation.

Many of these reasons were canvassed in The Queen v Carroll at [21]-[23], [35] – [40] and [86] and by the UK Law Commission (Summary at [27]-[31]).

The Rule recognises that efficient investigation of crime is of particular importance and, that that efficiency may be undermined should the prosecution be allowed a “second go”. To put it simply, the risk of prejudicial consequences to a fair fresh trial of the inevitable attendant publicity following the acquittal, re-investigation application for review and review by the Court of Criminal Appeal is too great to risk.

Apart from The Queen v Carroll examples of the Rules operation can found in Pearce v The Queen (1998 194 CLR 610). For example Gummow J at [54] said:

      “The third principle concerns the injustice to the individual which would be occasioned by a requirement to litigate afresh matters already determined by the courts. The maxim, nemo debet bis vexari pro una et eadem causa (it is the rule of law that a man shall not be twice vexed for one and the same cause), appears in Sparry's Case (1589) 5 Co Rep 61a [77 ER 148]. (The maxim applies not only to res judicata doctrines but also to vexatious litigation and abuse of process. Kersley, Broom's Legal Maxims, 10th ed. (1939) at 220.) In its application to criminal proceedings, it "has become known as the rule against double jeopardy" Rogers v The Queen (1994) 181 CLR 251 at 277.

The matter was also considered in Demirok v The Queen (1977) 137 CLR 20. Justice Murphy remarks bear extensive quotation Justice Murphy also reviewed the powers of an Appellate Court to order a retrial following a successful appeal against conviction. A matter taken up recently by the High Court in Conway v The Queen (2001) 209 CLR 203. His comments, citing US authority on repeated retrials are also of interest.:

      Blackstone referred to the "universal maxim of the common law of England,
      that no man is to be brought into jeopardy of his life, more than once, for
      the same offence" (Commentaries, vol. 4, p. 335; see also Coke (3rd
      Institutes, pp. 213-214)). The objections to double jeopardy have long been
      extended beyond capital offences to offences in general (see "Double Jeopardy:
      The Reprosecution Problem", Harvard Law Review, vol. 77 (1963-1964), p. 1272;
      Friedland, Double Jeopardy, (1969). The United States Supreme Court expressed
      the same view in Ex parte Lange (1873) 18 Wall 163, at p 169 (21 Law Ed 872,
      At pp 876-877). :
          "The common law not only prohibited a second
          punishment for the same offense, but it went further and forbid a
          second trial for the same offense, whether the accused had
          suffered punishment or not, and whether in the former trial
          he had been acquitted or convicted"."
This was cited in Green v. United States where the Court went on to State (1957) 355 US 184, at pp 187-188 (2 Law Ed 2d 199, at p 204). :
      "The underlying idea, one that is deeply ingrained in at
      least the Anglo-American system of jurisprudence, is that the
      State with all its resources and power should not be allowed
      to make repeated attempts to convict an individual for an
      alleged offense, thereby subjecting him to embarrassment,
      expense and ordeal and compelling him to live in a
      continuing State of anxiety and insecurity as well as
      enhancing the possibility that even though innocent he may
      be found guilty".
It is notable that in their joint judgement in The Queen v Carroll, Justices Gaudron and Gummow said that defendants exercising their right to testify should not be at risk of a subsequent prosecution for perjury in respect of their denial of guilt on the first charge (at [104]) Their Honours at [105] also touched on the related problem of evidence called in later proceedings, which might call into question the acquittal. They noted that in R v Z [2000] 2 AC 483, R v Arp [1998] 3 SCR 339 and R v Degnan 2001] 1 NZLR “the earlier acquittal would not be controverted by a guilty verdict at the second trial. (The law in the UK was based on Sambasivam v Public Prosecutor- Malaya [1977] AC 458. It is now regarded as “far from clear” as there is now no issue estoppel in criminal law DPP v Humphries [1977] AC 1( Law Commission, Summary at [66]-[67].))

      To pursue what is thought to be the objectively correct outcome of criminal proceedings is inconsistent with finality. As the Law Commission of England and Wales recognised in its report on Double Jeopardy and (Prosecution Appeals, (2001), Cm 5048 at par 4.13.) finality is a value which finds its roots in personal autonomy, and which serves to delineate the proper ambit of the power of the State by the State acknowledging ((2001), Cm 5048 at par 4.17) "that it respects the principle of limited Government and the liberty of the subject".
The Rule and its important principles are reflected in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Article 14(7):
      No one shall be liable to be tried and punished again for an offence for which he has already been finally convicted or acquitted in accordance with the law and penal procedure of each country.”

They can also be found in similar terms in Protocol 7, Article 4(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Both the ICCPR and the ECHR do however allow for prosecution appeals. The use of the term “finally” in 14(7) makes this clear. Such appeals are apparently common in Civil Law jurisdictions. However, there is a difference between a right to appeal and a law which allows re-opening of a case after it has been finalised. Such a provision does not appear to be in accord with the ICCPR. Further, the retrospective nature of the proposals appears contrary to the ICCPR. Retrospectivity would appear to be directly contrary to the Article 14(7) P Pentony & S Rice When the story ends, close the book: Discussing the double jeopardy rule at www.online opinion.com.au and the spirit of Article 15.

Reversing the Rule
The promised reversal of the rule is not unprecedented. Exceptions to the rule can now be found in the United Kingdom and New Zealand.

In the United Kingdom sections 54 to 57 of Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 allow for an acquittal for any offence to be set aside if the acquittal is “tainted”. Part 9 of the Criminal Justice Bill presently before the UK Parliament extends this inroad. The Bill sets out the provisions now proposed for NSW.

The UK changes follow a Review of the Rule by the Law Commission of England and Wales March (2001), and the Review of the Criminal Courts of England and Wales (the Auld Report 2002). Lord Auld’s Report was critical of the Law Commission for not going far enough. His Report provides the foundation for the new UK Bill.

There was also a Review by the New Zealand Law Commission who published their Report: “Acquittal following Perversion of the course of justice” in 2001.

The New Zealand Law Commission recommended this if there was a successful perjury conviction, a retrial of the original count should follow. They also put in a recommendation that it must also be shown that any fresh evidence could not have been available with prosecution due diligence. The New Zealand Law Commission did not restrict the offences to which this provision applied.

In Australia the Commonwealth’s Model Criminal Code Committee was asked to prepare a Report for the Standing Committee of Attorney-General’s on the issue. That Report has not yet been released to the public.

The issue has in fact not been subject to any detailed public consideration within Australia.

Existing Appeal Provisions
The Prosecution in NSW are not totally without remedies if dissatisfied with decisions of the Courts.

The Justices Act 1901 allows an informant extensive rights of Appeal both to the Supreme and District Courts (ss 104, 133E to 133I). These provisions are to be replaced in July 2003 by the Crimes (Local Courts Appeal And Review) Act 2001. A case can be stated from the decisions of the District Court where it deals with an appeal from the Local Court in its “Criminal and Special Division” (s5B Criminal Appeal Act 1912).

For indictable matters, either the DPP or the Attorney General can appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeal against interlocutory decisions (s5F Criminal Appeal Act 1912). This includes decisions which effectively rule out a Crown case, see R v Lissoff [1999] NSWCCA 364. There is no appeal after a formal acquittal, see R v Vincent [2002] NSWCCA 110. A right of appeal also exists for appeals against leniency of indictable sentences (s5D(1) Criminal Appeal Act 1912).

Decision of the Court of Criminal Appeal can be appealed, with leave, to the High Court (s34 Judiciary Act 1903 Comm.).

Lord Auld in his Report summarised the UK position:
      There is no general prosecution right of appeal against acquittals, rulings staying prosecution as an abuse of process or, as they occur, rulings of law or of inadmissibility of evidence likely to result in an acquittal. The only three current instances of the prosecution's right to appeal decisions adverse to it are: with leave, rulings of law or as to the admissibility of evidence in preparatory hearings in serious fraud cases or other long or complicated cases, against 'tainted' acquittals, that is, where a person is convicted of interference with or intimidation of a juror or witness in the trial leading to the acquittal, and, by Attorney General's reference, against unduly lenient sentences. The Attorney General may also refer an acquittal or removal of a case from the jury to the Court of Appeal for its opinion, or for reference to the House of Lords, on a point of law. At [47].
Remove the Rule
The most coherent argument for abolition of the Rule is found in Lord Auld’s Report at [47]-[63]. He argues that:
      “The Law Commission's proposals, if implemented, would make inroads on our hallowed common law doctrine of autrefois acquit …Like many of our principles of criminal law, it has its origin in harsher times when trials were crude affairs affording accused persons little effective means of defending themselves or of appeal, and when the consequence of conviction was often death. Thus, in Hawkins' Pleas of the Crown it is said that it is founded on the maxim "that a man shall not be brought into danger of his life for one and the same offence more than once".

      The doctrine, in its application to an acquittal, is not absolute and, as a matter of common sense, should not be so…. the general justifying aim of the administration of criminal justice is to control crime by detecting, convicting and duly sentencing the guilty. It is not part of that aim, simply a necessary incident of it, that the system should acquit those not proved to be guilty. If there is compelling evidence, say in the form of DNA or other scientific analysis or of an unguarded admission, that an acquitted person is after all guilty of a serious offence, then, subject to stringent safeguards of the sort proposed by the Law Commission, what basis in logic or justice can there be for preventing proof of that criminality? And what of the public confidence in a system that allows it to happen?

      To permit reopening of an acquittal in such a circumstance is not inconsistent with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966 or with the European Convention of Human Rights.” At [50]-[52].


His Lordship rejected the Law Commission arguments based on the rights of the individual as being too restrictive and ignoring the community interest in ‘just’ convictions (at [58]).

Justice and Justice Hayne in The Queen v Carroll, although they supported the Rule, displayed a similar attitude:
      “At the very root of the criminal law system lies the recognition by society that some conduct is to be classified as criminal and that those who are held responsible for such conduct are to be prosecuted and, in appropriate cases, punished for it. It follows that those who are guilty of a crime for which they are to be held responsible should, in the absence of reason to the contrary, be prosecuted to conviction and suffer just punishment” at [23].

The NSW Attorney General justifies the proposed changes by reference to “the advances in forensic science ( particularly DNA testing) and the certainty of determining issues that that technology entails. Mr Debus notes Personal correspondence from Bob Debus June 2003:
      “The proposals seek to address the clear injustice where fresh and compelling evidence of guilt comes to light for the first time following an acquittal of a very serious charge.
Mr Debus highlighted the “important safeguards” in the proposal and stated paradoxically, that:
      “The Government proposals did not disregard the importance our legal system gives to the finality of verdicts”. My emphasis.
Opposition to Change
The Public Defenders take the view that the arguments for change do not justify interference with long-standing and practical common law principles. The Bar has taken a similar position. Both have made their views known to the Government, in no uncertain terms.

Given the present “persistently punitive attitude of the community toward criminals” to quote McHugh J in Ryan v The Queen (2001) 200 CLR 267 at [46] the interference with the Rule leaves open the real risk that media outrage following acquittals will lead to retributive second prosecutions. This will be so even with the promised requirement that both the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Court of Criminal Appeal must sanction a retrial. As we have seen with bail laws each diminution of the rights of an accused is criticised by the Opposition and some in the media as “not going far enough”. It is then further eroded as soon as the next “outrage” occurs. For more on this cycle see Russell Hogg & David Brown Rethinking Law and Order1998 Pluto Press.

In the United Kingdom the changes followed on from the media attacks on the Justice System after a number of young men were acquitted of the racially motivated murder of Stephen Lawrence. That experience illustrates the possible danger of allowing trials to be reopened. In the Lawrence case, despite what appears to be the perfectly legitimate rejection of flawed identification evidence, a media campaign was able to significantly undermine the integrity of the criminal justice system.

The continued erosion of what were once thought to be fundamental ‘rights’ is indicative that the principle of limited Government is being abandoned. The State can do what it wants. Without any brake on the Executive Government’s power to make and enforce laws they can and do say; “in order to control crime - anything goes”. In the absence of a strong Parliament and a Bill of Rights only the legal profession and the limited powers of some in the courts can stop or stem the flood. See for example the remarks of Sir Anthony Mason in (1987) 13 Mon Law Rep 149 and later in Kinley (ed) Human Rights in Australian Law 1998 Fed Press. The competing views on judicial activism on Human Rights issues are illustrated by two recent articles- John Perry Have judges gone too far, 15 Judicial Officer Bulletin No4 and JB Thomas Judges who play politics (2003) 77 ALJ 173. To date most of the arguments against removal of the Rule and other common law ‘rights’ has been very much “finger in the dyke” stuff.

Arguments based on common sense or even rational economics have yet to work. Despite even or decreasing crimes rates. The number of full time Prisoners in NSW now exceeds 8,000. Nearly 2,000 of them are on remand. There is no reliable information or data to suggest we as a society are safer for being tougher. Nic Cowdery Rethinking Law and Order And it costs over $180 a day to keep a prisoner in maximum security! As long as our politicians’ think they will be undone by “crime” as the Premier noted in his diaries (SMH 2/5/2003) we are at risk of unlimited oppression in the name of law and order.
    The UK Law Commission argued strongly that, while exceptions to the principle should be allowed, respect for the fundamental rights and freedoms must continue. The individual citizen’s right to be treated with dignity and respect must operate in favour of defendants to criminal charges to mitigate the power of the State. (Consultation Paper at 158, Ch III). To date no one in authority in NSW has made such a pronouncement.

    To argue as Lord Auld does that the Rule is not necessary, as we no longer have the death penalty, is specious. While we no longer have the death penalty there are regular calls for its reintroduction. In any event a life sentence now means natural life. The State forcing someone no matter how ‘evil’ his or her crime to spent over sixty years in maximum security is almost as incomprehensible as the State taking life as a deterrent! Life sentences have been imposed on those as young as 19 (see R v Valera [2002] NSWCCA 50).

    Loath as I am to rely on the words of the present Chief Justice and Justice Hayne on matters of civil liberty what they said in The Queen v Carroll (at [22]) does bear repeating:

        “Many aspects of the rules which are lumped together under the title "double jeopardy" find their origins not so much in the considerations we have just mentioned as in the recognition of two other no less obvious facts. Without safeguards, the power to prosecute could readily be used by the executive as an instrument of oppression. Further finality is as important aspect of any system of justice”
    Their Honours then referred to what was said by Lord Wilberforce in The Ampthill Peerage [1977] AC 547 at 569:
        "Any determination of disputable fact may, the law recognises, be imperfect: the law aims at providing the best and safest solution compatible with human fallibility and having reached that solution it closes the book. The law knows, and we all know, that sometimes fresh material may be found, which perhaps might lead to a different result, but, in the interest of peace, certainty and security it prevents further inquiry. It is said that in doing this, the law is preferring justice to truth. That may be so: these values cannot always coincide. The law does its best to reduce the gap. But there are cases where the certainty of justice prevails over the possibility of truth ... and these are cases where the law insists on finality."

    I am all for the points noted above. However while simple ‘finger in the dyke’ responses, based on what we, as lawyers thought were fundamentals, can’t be abandoned they are clearly not enough. They have failed to convince the politicians, the media, many lawyers and to date the public. It is ironic that we who act for the defence have been forced to defend what years ago we saw as conservative and stultifying rules and principles lining up with Mason, Gleeson and Hayne and their ilk. It is ironic too, that the most innovative recent changes in criminal law and the conduct of criminal trials have come from the Prosecutors amongst us.
      It is perhaps time to match the neo conservatives and come up with more innovative approaches to the “Crime” problem. Approaches, which put the State on the spot and recognise the interests of those individuals who face not only the criminal law but also the now respectable idea that in investigating, and punishing crime ‘anything goes’. Increasingly we hear about the responsibilities of citizens. But this must be balanced by the responsibility of the agencies of State to act reasonably at all times and to suffer severe consequences if they do not.

      Where to Next?
      While I welcome the opportunity to comment further on the proposed “Consultation Draft” a degree of scepticism must be excused. Previous press releases announcing law reforms have said that consultation will follow. A recent example is the minimum sentence legislation part 8A Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 as amended. That consultation did not led to any substantial change to the Draft Consultation Bill. There is a strong feeling in Government that; the press release once issued is the policy; to pull back is a sign of weakness; and that legislation and debate is but an unfortunate technicality that must be endured.

      As the Government has already committed itself to the proposed ‘reforms’ there is little doubt that regardless of the result of the consultation it will implement them.

      If there were to be change it would appear essential that the new rules apply only to the serious offence of murder. This would recognise the status of that offence and the particular moral wrong in appearing to “getting away with murder.”

      They should not be retrospective, as this would clearly contradict the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
      .
      Further as with the current UK Criminal Procedure and Investigation Act intervention should only occur where there is strong evidence that the original trial was “tainted”.

      The must also be some sort of time limit imposed on reopening old acquittals, at most 5 years. Even for the most serious crimes an acquitted person must be able to resume or rebuild their life after trial without fear the past will be resurrected.

      There is also scope for demanding some reciprocity by way of strengthening the rights of citizens who may become subject to criminal charges. The State has responsibilities to all citizens including those facing charges or recharge. Why shouldn’t there be a time limitation or general Statute of Limitations of say 5 years (and 5 years after a child reaches turns 18), on resurrecting any old investigations or laying criminal charges. Article 6 of the ECHR speaks of prosecutions being commenced within a “reasonable time.” Which term, although not defined, is a start.

      If we are to open up the prosecution process why not also legislate to remove some of the considerable restrictions on re-opening convictions. These are presently fixed by such cases as Mickelberg v The Queen (1989) 167 CLR 259 and R v Gallagher (1985) 160 CLR 392. We have a limited and under resourced “Innocence Panel” within the Police Department dealing with possible reviews of trials where fresh DNA analysis may give rise to doubts about a conviction. Why not set up an independent agency with the resources to properly reinvestigate all possible wrongful convictions.
        This suggestion was made by legal commentator Richard Ackland in the Sydney Morning Herald following the Premier’s announcement. He pointed out that in the UK there was a Criminal Case Review Commission, which can investigate wrongful convictions.

        Richard Ackland also noted that in bringing on the ‘reform’, the Government had “dispensed with the tedium of consultation”. He was scathing in his criticism of the proposal: “More of a stunt than a principle”.

        I can but agree.

        An Aside:
        Double Jeopardy on Sentence: The concept of traditional restraint following a successful Crown Appeal.
        As was noted in The Queen v Carroll the Rule has a number of aspects. Once import one relates to what should occur following a successful Crown appeal against the leniency of a sentence imposed at first instance.
            "When this Court hears an appeal by the Crown against what is said to be the severity of sentences, the Court is not free to take the course it might if sentencing at first instance. A residual discretion exists which favours the Respondent to any such appeal if the sentence is found to be below the range of sentencing discretion, but not so far below it that the Court considers that it ought not to interfere" R v Haughton [2000] NSWCCA 62.

        It was thought that appeal Court should accord the applicant the benefit of the Rule and shown similar judicial restraint when it came to re-sentencing:

            “On an appeal such as this, the court, in its discretion, may dismiss the appeal and, if upholding it, would ordinarily impose a sentence which might be at the bottom of the range or less than that which ought to have been imposed at first instance: see Kalache [2000] NSWCCA 2; Regina v. Webster [1999] NSWCCA 313, provided that, having regard to the necessity to denounce the error, the discretion and the other matters to be taken into account on re-sentencing, it might properly do so”. R v Pont (2000) 121 A Crim R 302 at [8].

        This notion of judicial restraint is in line with the other general principles, which govern Crown Appeals:

            1. The exercise of the power vested in the Director by s.5D is exceptional.
            2. The Court must recognise that a range of sentences might be appropriate in any case and that judges might legitimately differ in philosophy, approach and result: Kirby, P. in R v. Hayes (1987) 29 A. Crim. R. 452 at 468-470.
            3. The error contended for must show that the sentence in its duration or nature is so far outside the permissible range of the exercise of a proper discretion as to require intervention, at least in the absence of matters going to the exercise of the Court’s well known discretion to refrain from intervening (R v. Holder (1983) 3 NSWLR 245 at 225-226 and R v. Allpass (1994) 72 A. Crim. R. 561)
            4. Crown appeals should be rare. Successful Crown appeals should be rare. This is particularly so with respect to that category of appeals in which no particular error can be identified in the sentencing process where the Crown must rely on an assertion of manifest inadequacy as a basis for a conclusion that some error of principle must have occurred. (R v Baker [2000] NSWCCA 85 at [20]).

        All flow from and operate in tandem with the Rule against of double jeopardy. A Rule, which has been expressed, as “a man should not be twice vexed for the same cause.”

        What can be more vexing than having received a sentence to then have it appealed and have the Appellate Court triple your time in gaol!

        It is clear that the Rule is not always followed by the NSW CCA. See R v AEM & Others [2002] NSWCCA 58 and R v Markarian [2003] NSWCCA 8. AEM was refused special leave to appeal to the High Court (although this point was not raised). Markarian’s Application is still to be heard.

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        Last updated: 4 July 2012
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