Murder plea makes history for Norfolk

Legal history was made in Norfolk today after a man was put in the dock for the second time for the same offence following the death of his victim - and pleaded guilty to murder.

Legal history was made in Norfolk today after a man was put in the dock for the second time for the same offence following the death of his victim - and pleaded guilty to murder.

Relatively new laws allowed 22-year-old Troy Tkaczek to be put back before the court to face a murder charge even though he had already been sentenced to seven years for wounding as a result of the same stabbing incident.

Several months after the court case to secure the wounding conviction, Tkaczek's victim Sam Armstrong died of complications linked to the original attack, which took place late at night in North Walsham market place.

Although 17 months had passed between the attack and Mr Armstrong's death, a change in the law meant the ancient custom of not being able to bring a murder charge if more than a year and a day had passed between an offence and death no longer stood.


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Experts said today that the Tkaczek case is a first for Norfolk and only one of a small handful in the country. They added it was a good example of why parliament introduced the Law Reform (Year and a Day Rule) Act 1996, which allowed prosecutors to go directly to the Attorney General for consent to bring charges in such cases.

“It is unusual for this legislation to apply at all, but even more unusual for it to be used after there has already been a case dealing with the same incident,” said leading criminal lawyer Robert Brown, of Corker Binning in London.

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“It appears to be a notable reflection of the reason for the law change, which was brought in because advances in medical science have allowed victims to be kept alive for longer periods after being injured.

“Normally second trials only occur when there is new evidence following an acquittal.”

And Julian Young, of Julian Young and co, another leading London criminal law firm, said the legislation used in the Tkaczek case was only ever applied for in “exceptional cases”.

“It is extremely rare and really doesn't happen very often at all.”

Mr Young said Tkaczek's only possible defence would have been to show there was a “break in causation” between Mr Armstrong's death and the attack.

Judge Peter Jacobs, sitting at Norwich Crown Court, told Tkaczek that the offence was a “really serious matter” and told him he would be sentenced on January 18 once reports have been compiled.

Tkaczek is currently in Blundeston Prison and will remain on remand until his return to the same court.

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