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autrefois convict‘formerly acquitted’. If a defendant has been previously acquitted of the same offence or could have been acquitted of the offence at a previous trial, then this is a plea in bar of the second trial. The same concept applies in Scotland. The rule was abolished for England and Wales in 2005 where ‘new and compelling’ evidence emerged, allowing a person to be tried one more time.
AUTREFOIS CONVICT, crim. law, pleading. A plea made by a defendant, indicted
for a crime or misdemeanor, that he has formerly been tried and convicted of
2. As a man once tried and acquitted of an offence is not again to be placed in jeopardy for the same cause, so, a fortiori, if he has suffered the penalty due to his offence, his conviction ought to be a bar to a second indictment for the same cause, least he should be punished twice for the same crime. 2 Hale, 251; 4 Co, 394; 2 Leon,. 83.
3. The form of this plea is like that of autrefois acquit; (q.v.) it must set out the former record, and show the identity of the offence and of the person by proper averments. Hawk. B. 2, c. 36; Stark. Cr. Pi. 363; Arcb. Cr, PI, 92; 1 Chit. Cr. Law, 462; 4 Bl. Com. 335; 11 Verm. R. 516.