autrefois convict

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[French: previously convicted]

A special plea in bar of arraignment claiming that the defendant has previously been convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction of the same (or substantially the same) offence as that with which he is now charged or that he could have been convicted on an earlier indictment of the same (or substantially the same) offence. When this plea is entered the judge determines the issue. If the plea is successful it bars further proceedings on the indictment. The plea may be combined with one of not guilty. The Criminal Justice Act 2003 allows for retrial in a limited range of offences where there is new and compelling evidence that the acquitted person is guilty of the offence and a retrial is in the interests of justice. See also double jeopardy; nemo debet bis vexari.

Subjects: Law.

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