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Report No. 60

14.1A. English law.-

The fundamental principle of the plea of autrefois acquit as laid down by the judges of England in 17961 and as stated by writers earlier than that date, has been consistently followed. It was thus stated in 1848 in Broom's Legal Maxims (2nd Edn.), p. 257;

"and this plea is clearly founded on the principle, that no man shall be placed in peril of legal penalties more than once upon the same accusation-nemo debt bis pumri pro uno delicto."

The general principle that a man must put twice in peril for the same offence has been held by the English Courts to be applicable even where the previous acquittal or conviction was in a foreign country2. In 1918, this principle was applied3 by the Court of Criminal Appeal in a case where the accused, a Belgian Army Officer, had been acquitted by a Belgian Court Martial in a trial held in Calai. It may be noted that this principle of the common law was extended by section 33 of the English Interpretation Act to statutory offences4. There are similar statutory provisions on the subject in section 30 of the (Australian) Acts Interpretation Act, 1901 to 1957-and in the Canadian Law5.

1. R. v. Vandercomb and Abbott, (1796), 2 Leach 720, cited in D.P.P. v. Connelly, (1964) 2 All ER 416.

2. R. v. Roche, (1775) 1 Leach 134: 164, English Reports 169 (Acquittal by a Dutch Court in South Africa).

3. R. v. Aughet, (1918) 13 Criminal Appeal Reports 101.

4. R. v. Thomas, (1950) 1 King's Bench 26.

5. Section 11, Criminal Code (Canada).



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