Report No. 60
14.3. The principle firmly established.-
The principle that no person shall be vexed twice for the same crime was described by Lord Hodson in Connelly v. D.P.P.,(1964) 2 All ER 401 (428) (HL). "as one which is firmly established in our law, but, as the authority show, is not easy of consistent application". What is meant or involved in the word "the same crime"? It is in answer to this question that so much difficulty has arisen; and to quote Lord Hodson again, "so much argument has been entertained down to the present day not only in this country, but in other countries where the common law prevails".
The classic statement of the principle is to be found in Hawkins Peas of the Crown1, is as follows:
"that a man shall not be brought into danger of his life for one and the same offence, more than once."
"From whence it is generally taken, by all the books, as an undoubted consequence, that where a man is once found 'not guilty' on an indictment or appeal free from error, and well commenced before "any court which nath jurisdiction of the cause, he may, by the common law, in all cases whatsoever, plead such acquittal in bar of any subsequent indictment or appeal for the same crime". This lucid statement by Hawkins, has never excelled, though it is often elaborated2.
1. Hawkins Pleas of the Crown, [18th Edn., (1824) Vol. 2, p. 515] cited in Commelly v. D.P.P., (1964) 2 All ER 401 (428) (HL).
2. E.g. Miles, (1890) 24 QBD 423 (431) (Hawkins J.).