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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 March, 2005, 10:25 GMT 11:25 UK
Mother's 'double jeopardy' hope
Julie Hogg
Julie Hogg's body was hidden behind a bath panel.
A campaigning Teesside mother, whose daughter was murdered 16 years ago, hopes a proposed change in the law will help convict her killer.

The body of Julie Hogg, 22, from Billingham, was found hidden behind her bath by her mother Ann Ming in 1989.

Her boyfriend, Billy Dunlop, was acquitted of her murder at two trials, but later admitted the crime.

The new Criminal Justice Act includes a change that will allow suspects to be tried twice for the same crime.

It comes into effect on Monday, but will only be used in exceptional circumstances.

Dunlop made his confession to a prison officer while serving a seven-year sentence for assaulting a former girlfriend and her lover.

'Compelling evidence'

He could not be tried again for the murder because of the double jeopardy rule, which dates back to the middle ages.

Instead he was sentenced to six years for perjury.

Mrs Ming, who has long campaigned for the law change, said: "The new act states that if there is compelling evidence which wasn't available at the first trial then it can be looked at by the department of public prosecutions, and if that evidence exists that person can be re-tried."

Ann Ming
Ann Ming hopes a change in the rule will help her daughter's case.

But Cleveland's chief prosecutor, Martin Goldman, said there was a danger of the new law jeopardising confidence in the justice system.

He said: "I don't envisage a lot of retrials. It's very rare that we would do that because we want the certainty that when someone is tried for a criminal offence and found not guilty then that is the finality of it.

"Otherwise we never know where we are, and the public can never know if someone is guilty or not. Also, the defendants themselves can't get on with their lives."

However, Mrs Ming remains optimistic about the chance of a retrial

"There are lots of safeguards in the law and we'll only get one chance, but I'm hopeful that the case will be considered.

"It could mean justice for victims, many of whom will tell you that they, not the perpetrators, do the life sentences in this country."


SEE ALSO:
Fears over justice reforms
21 Jun 01 |  UK News
End to 'double jeopardy' planned
20 Jun 01 |  Politics


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