No retrial for man cleared of Qld murder

A man acquitted of a 1987 murder will not be retried under Queensland's double jeopardy laws.
A man acquitted of a 1987 murder will not be retried under Queensland's double jeopardy laws.

A Queensland man acquitted of a stabbing murder more than 30 years ago will not be retried despite new scientific techniques finding his DNA profile on a bloody pillowcase.

The victim's body was found tangled in her blood-covered bedding eight days after she and the man were seen socialising together in September 1987.

The man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, admitted to police he'd been with the woman on the night, saying they watched TV together back at her flat.

But a jury acquitted him after testing techniques at the time found the blood on the pillow was consistent with not only the man, but about one in 1000 Australians.

Following the discovery of fresh evidence, the Director of Public Prosecutions sought an order for the man to be tried a second time under the state's double jeopardy laws.

But the Court of Appeal on Tuesday dismissed the application, saying the new evidence from the bloody pillowcase isn't reliable because the scientists who collected the samples aren't available to testify.

The fabric gave DNA profiles that matched the man's, but "how (it) got onto the pillow or when it was deposited is not known", the full bench of the court said in its judgment.

It is also unclear if the DNA is from the blood cells or from skin cells, which can be transferred from touching or clothing.

"No person is now able to give direct evidence about the provenance and handling of the tested sample," the justices said.

"If the fresh evidence is accepted it merely reinforces the admitted fact that the (man) had been inside the deceased's home."

Torn underwear found at the scene with bloodstains that matched the man's and about one in 500 Australians' blood have also been destroyed.

If the matter were to go to trial the man's defence team would not be able to test them, the court found.

"The inability of the (man) to test the scientific integrity in the process of obtaining the DNA profile means that there cannot be a fair trial," they said.

Australian Associated Press