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Queensland to come into line with other states under new double-jeopardy laws

Politics

The scope for double jeopardy will be broadened and a federal appeal process offered under a bill expected in Queensland’s final parliamentary sitting of the year.

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Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath will table a bill that brings Queensland more in line with other states and territories and both broadens the scope for double jeopardy and adds in 10 new offences.

The laws will also clarify for police and prosecutors the definition of new or compelling evidence to meet the double jeopardy test, to allow a person to be prosecuted for the same offence twice.

Offences expected to be part of the bill include manslaughter, attempted murder, unlawful striking causing death, killing an unborn child, rape, incest and repeated sexual conduct with a child.

The government will also move a technical amendment to the victims of crime assistance bill that allows DNA samples after they are taken to be retained for three years, instead of 12 months.

It comes following a recommendation from a commission of inquiry into the state-run forensics lab handed down earlier in November.

The inquiry found more than 100,00 samples at the lab might need to be re-tested after a flawed DNA extraction technique known as ‘Project 13’ was used from 2007 to 2016.

It was revealed in the inquiry the automated method yielded up to 92 per cent less DNA than the manual technique.

A bill to establish a forensic science institute will be tabled by Health Minister Shannon Fentiman following a recommendation from the first commission of inquiry into the beleaguered lab.

When passed, the institute will operate under the department of Justice and Attorney-General.

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