In context

Revised detriment of the accused provisions allow limited judicial re-review

November 11, 2013
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In context

The new Act revising detriment of the accused provisions entered into force on 1 October 2013, amending the Code of Criminal Procedure.

This new Act allows conducting limited judicial review in certain criminal cases where a judgment has become final. Although this Act primarily focuses on general criminal law, it does introduce a limitation of the ne bis in idem principle.

 

The amendment is intended to enhance the credibility of criminal enforcement by reducing the number of wrongly given acquittals. The Dutch government has stressed the restrictive nature of the limitation to the ne bis in idem principle. The possibility to conduct a judicial review is bound by strict limitations. A review can only take place in the case of an acquittal, and only if there is new evidence showing that the previous verdict was unjustified. The evidence must be of a nature that would have led to a conviction had the court known of the evidence. Revision may also occur in cases where there were certain “falsehoods”, such as false exculpatory evidence. In principle, revision to the detriment of the accused is only possible with regard to malicious crimes that have resulted in the loss of life. The initiative to put a case up for judicial review can only be taken by the executive board of the public prosecutor’s office, while the ultimate decision to review a case is taken by the Dutch Supreme Court.

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