Double Jeopardy: Autrefois Acquit

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The words “autrefois acquit” and “autrefois convict” are generally referred to as the principle of double jeopardy. The term "Jeopardy" refers to the "danger" of punishment which is ascribed to any individual brought to trial before a court of competent jurisdiction. Procedural matters prior to trial do not constitute jeopardy, and that's why it's said that jeopardy attaches, or may be asserted by the defendant, once a jury has been sworn in, or the first witness takes the stand, in any original prosecution resulting in any acquittal or conviction. Jeopardy also attaches to any plea of guilty (treated the same as conviction) even if later withdrawn. The concept of double jeopardy is one of the oldest in Western civilization. In 355 BC Athenian…show more content…
The meaning of this maxim is that a man should not be put in peril twice for the same offence. It has been said that the history of double jeopardy is the history of criminal procedure2. The rule is thought to have its origins in the controversy between Henry II and Archbishop Thomas a Becket that clerks convicted in the ecclesiastical courts were exempt from further punishment in the Kings courts because such further punishment would violate the maxim (nimo bis in idipsum) no man ought to be punished twice for the same offence. This maxim stemmed from St Jerome’s commentary in AD 391 on the prophet Nahum: “For God judges not twice for the same offence” and is said to mark the beginning of the principle under common…show more content…
20(2) is that the former 'prosecution' (which indicates that the proceedings are of a criminal nature) must be before a court of law, or a judicial tribunal required by law to decide matters in controversy judicially on evidence and on oath which it must be authorized by law to administer, and not before a tribunal which entertains a departmental or administrative enquiry, even though set up by a statute, but not required to proceed on legal evidence given on oath . The words 'before a court of law or judicial tribunal', though not found specifically in the Article are taken as an important condition. When a civil servant is dismissed from government service on the ground of misbehavior after a departmental inquiry, his later prosecution on the same charges which had been earlier inquired into and for which he was punished by dismissal would not be barred by Art. 20(2). The earlier 'inquiry' could not be regarded as 'prosecution' for a criminal offence and so Art. 20(2) would not apply. Thus, a departmental inquiry does not bar a later prosecution and punishment in a

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