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Victoria Police keen for double jeopardy chan -

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The infamous 1988 murder of two young Victorian policemen will be the first case reopened if the
Coalition Government in the state fulfills its promise to change double jeopardy laws.


TONY JONES, PRESENTER: The 1988 murder of two young policemen in Melbourne is infamous in Victoria
and police say it will be the first case reopened if the state's double jeopardy laws are changed.

Reform of the laws was among the promises the Coalition in Victoria made before taking office.

While the police are keen to reopen cases like Walsh Street, the state's legal establishment isn't
so sure.

Hamish Fitzsimmons reports from Melbourne.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS, REPORTER: Double jeopardy means if you're acquitted of a charge, you can't be
tried again on the same allegations. It's one of the oldest rules of common law. But state
governments across the country feel double jeopardy is in need of an overhaul.

TED BAILLIEU, VICTORIAN PREMIER: It's been made clear that where there is evidence of perjury, for
instance - just use the one for instance - that there is grounds on a principled basis to look at
the double jeopardy situation.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: The legal establishment is cautious about the Victorian Government's proposal
to change double jeopardy laws and only for certain cases.

ROB STARY, LAW INSTITUTE OF VICTORIA: For instance, if there's been some perjured evidence that's
given rise to an acquittal where there's been some perversion of the course of justice, concoction
of evidence, tampering with the jury, or where there's been the bribery of a judicial officer, that
might form the basis of a retrial.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: One of the most emotive cases cited in the push to change Victorian law is the
1988 murders of two young policemen, Steve Tynan and Damian Eyre, who were shot in cold blood in
what became known as the Walsh Street killings.

Four men were tried then acquitted of the murders. For the Victoria Police, the Walsh Street case
remains at the top of its list if the laws change.

GRAHAM ASHTON, ASST. COMMISSIONER, VICTORIA POLICE: In terms of using this legislation, this is our
highest priority, there's no question about that. The murder of police in any society I believe
goes to the heart of the criminal justice system, and it's not only an investigation that is very
important for this organisation, but for the entire Victorian community.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: Three of those acquitted in 1991 are still alive, and last year one of them,
Peter David McEvoy, was arrested on separate charges where it was alleged he made statements
implicating himself in the Walsh Street killings.

Victoria's top cops now believe they can convince the director of public prosecutions that they
have sufficient evidence to warrant a new trial.

GRAHAM ASHTON: There's fresh evidence and - but we need to be fully exploring that and we need to
do it at the right time so that we don't put in peril a potential trial - retrial.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: The State Government acknowledges Walsh Street has been the trigger in the push
for change.

TED BAILLIEU: I think it's fair to say that it's certainly been a focus of attention in all of
these issues and considerations over a number of years

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: Victoria and Western Australia are the only states yet to reform double
jeopardy laws. Last week the West Australian Government introduced legislation that would see
someone retried if new or compelling evidence was uncovered. But senior lawyers say that's not
sufficient reason for a retrial.

ROB STARY: We think there needs to be finality in cases with very narrow exceptions in terms of the
way I've described. And new and compelling evidence should not be the basis. There are no examples
that have been brought to our attention that show that a case should be reopened on the basis of
new or compelling evidence.

HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: Victoria will introduce its laws to Parliament later this year.

Hamish Fitzsimmons, Lateline.