Yesterday Tasmania’s Attorney-General Steve Kons announced he was following the lead of other states like Queensland and abolishing the double jeopardy rule. This is the rule that essentially says you can’t be tried for the same crime twice. There are cases where new evidence comes to light which could convict someone who was tried and walked free in the past, say the politicians.
Fair point. But isn’t it interesting we never hear politicians talking about the hundreds of innocent people who get convicted each year and who languish in jail for years? Cases like Mallard, Button and Beamish, all out of Western Australia for example, where innocent men were essentially framed and had to fight tooth and nail against reluctant governments to have their cases reheard and acquittals granted.
I personally know of at least three cases in Tasmania where there is little doubt that innocent people have been convicted of murder in circumstances that at least warrant further investigation.
So if Mr Kons and other politicians around Australia are serious about according justice for all, how about they fund Innocence Projects to allow for teams of researchers, expert witnesses and lawyers to examine cases where there is doubt about the conviction. At the moment such projects in Australia exist on a shoestring and through the good graces of lawyers working free of charge for years on end.
There are innocent people in prison just as there are guilty people walking free – justice must be accorded to both.