New evidence, new trial?

12th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

Parliament has approved a government proposal which would make it possible to re-try a defendant who has previously been acquitted. In cases involving serious crimes he or she could be prosecuted again if new evidence is uncovered.  It is not currently possible for someone to be tried twice for the same crime.

The previous cabinet wanted a change in the law of this kind for offences which carry a life sentence and involve the death of a person. 

Security and Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten has expanded this to include manslaughter and crimes of violence and sex crimes which result in a death. It will apply retrospectively to existing cases which do not fall under the statute of limitations.

The cabinet and parliament agreed it was unacceptable that a former defendant should remain unpunished when new highly incriminating evidence becomes available. This is increasingly the case as a result of new techniques such as DNA testing.

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