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Te Aka Matua o te Ture

Report 70

Acquittal Following Perversion of the Course of Justice

Wellington, New Zealand

The Law Commission is an independent, publicly funded, central advisory body established by statute to undertake the systematic review, reform and development of the law of New Zealand. Its purpose is to help achieve law that is just, principled, and accessible, and that

reflects the heritage and aspirations of the peoples of New Zealand.

The Commissioners are:

The Honourable Justice Baragwanath – President
Judge Margaret Lee
DF Dugdale
Timothy Brewer ED
Paul Heath QC

The Executive Manager of the Law Commission is Bala Benjamin
The office of the Law Commission is at 89 The Terrace, Wellington
Postal address: PO Box 2590, Wellington 6001, New Zealand
Document Exchange Number: SP 23534
Telephone: (04) 473–3453, Facsimile: (04) 471–0959
Report/Law Commission, Wellington, 2000
ISSN 0113–2334 ISBN 1–877187–70–4
This report may be cited as: NZLC r70
Also published as Parliamentary Paper E 3170

This report is also available on the Internet at the Commission’s website:

27 March 2001

Dear Ministers

I am pleased to submit to you Report 70 of the Law Commission, Acquittal Following Perversion of the Course of Justice.

We confirm as fundamental the rule of law that no person acquitted of a crime can be prosecuted again for the same offence. But after consultation and careful reflection we have concluded that, in a narrow class of case, public confidence in the rule of law justifies a limited exception to that rule. That is where the accused has secured an unmerited acquittal on a serious charge by perjury or other conduct that has perverted the course of justice. The Report contains the arguments for and against our view, gives the reasons for our conclusion, and details the circumstances in which and the terms on which we consider the limited exception should be available.

Yours sincerely

The Hon Justice Baragwanath President

The Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Justice
Parliament Buildings
The Hon Margaret Wilson
Associate Minister of Justice
Parliament Buildings

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