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Double jeopardy prohibits different prosecutions for the same offense. This rule can come into play when a government brings a charge against someone for an incident, then prosecutes that person again for the same incident, only with a different charge.

For example, if a defendant is found not guilty of manslaughter in a drunk-driving incident, he or she cannot be tried again in criminal court. However, the deceased victim’s family is free to sue the defendant for wrongful death in a civil court to recover financial damages.

A situation of double jeopardy could possibly be invoked when an authority brings a charge against an electricity supplier for harmful combustion of fossil fuels. Improper waste disposal is an environmental crime and could be heard in a criminal court. If they are found not guilty, they cannot be tried again in the criminal court for the same incident with a different charge, for example pollution, However, the plaintiff is free to sue them in a civil court for wrongful polluting of air.

A defendant could maintain that non-renewable fuel combustion cannot be both polluting and resource – diminishing at the same time, for when that resource is not renewed, it cannot also cause pollution. The prosecutor cannot have a resource cake with pollution eating it at the same time.

The double jeopardy principle prevents courts contradicting each other.

Although the example situation above could not be dealt with by existing legislation, it could be a guide to fair treatment of alleged polluters from non-renewable resources. Resource depletion should be tested legally separately from alleged pollution.

The situation is notionally relevant to prosecution of fossil fuel compliance when neither pollution nor depletion have corroborating scientific evidence in Australia. A shifted climate science paradigm is explained in the novel Animal Farm 2.

Types of evidence


Direct evidenceof an occurrence is perceived by a witness using their senses.For example: a witness who testifies that he saw the defendant shoot the victim.

Indirect evidenceestablishes immediately collateral facts from which the main fact may be inferred e.g. Caltech astronomers Mike Brown and Konstantin Batygin have accumulated indirect evidence for an object that’s more than twice the diameter of Earth, but 10 times as far from the sun as Pluto.

Circumstantial evidenceconsists of a fact or set of facts which, if proven, will support the creation of an inference that the matter asserted is true e.g. a fingerprint at the scene of a crime.

In the crime fiction novel Presumed Dead, evidence of these types is used to reconstruct the crime.

Crime reconstruction


A crime can be analysed by developing a theory as a chain of causative hypotheses, the strength of each link depending upon the rigour of the testing. The strength of the chain is no more than its weakest link. Links are not necessarily strengthened by evidence, which may direct, indirect or circumstantial. Hypotheses can explain evidence but must be able to be falsified and able to make predictions of something yet unobserved.

In the crime fiction novel Presumed Dead, the crime is systematically reconstructed:

Hypothesising a crime


Karl Popper (1902-1994) is widely regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of science.

A hypothesis is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon. For a hypothesis to be a scientific hypothesis, the scientific method requires that one can test it by refuting it. It is not possible to ‘prove’ an hypothesis or show that an hypothesis is ‘true’, only falsify it. The null hypothesis is that some estimate is due to chance vs the alternative hypothesis that there is some statistically significant effect.If this evidence exists, we can reject the null hypothesis and accept the alternative hypothesis.

In the crime fiction novel Presumed Dead, the investigator reconstructs the crime with a chain of hypotheses.

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