(2) Secondly, it does not prevent the trial of any offence as does the rule of double jeopardy, but only precludes the evidence being led to prove a fact in issue about which a finding has already been arrived at, at an earlier trial before a competent Court.
The rule of issue estoppel relates to the admissibility of evidence, which is designed to upset a finding of fact recorded by a competent Court at a previous trial. Thus, the rule of issue-estoppel is not the same as the plea of double jeopardy or autrefois acquit which the latter prevents the trial of any offence.
Section 300 of the Code of Criminal Procedure does not preclude the applicability of the rule of issue-estoppel.
Where at a previous trial a finding has been given by a competent Court on the innocence of guilt of the accused in his favour and the same question arises in a subsequent trial of the accused for a different offence, the Court must proceed with the second case accepting the finding of innocence as final and cannot admit evidence to dispute it.
Where the object of the evidence abducted at the second trial is merely to corroborate the charge in respect of the offence forming the subject-matter of that trial and not to dispute the previous finding in the accused’s favour, the fact that the same evidence was established at the previous trial for a different offence cannot bar the admissibility of this evidence.
When an issue of fact has been tried by a competent Court on a former occasion and a finding is reached in favour of the accused, such a finding would constitute an estoppel against the prosecution as precluding the reception of evidence to disturb this finding of fact when the accused is tried subsequently even for a different offence which may be permitted by law.
To invoke the principle of issue-estoppel, any of the parties of the two trials must be the same, but also the facts in issue proved or not in the previous trial must be identical which sought to be re-agitated in the subsequent trial.
Issue estoppel does not prevent the trial of the offence as does autrefois acquit, but only precludes evidence being laid to prove a fact in issue as regards which evidence has already been laid and specific finding recorded.
Before the principle of issue estoppel can be applied, the question to be determined is whether in the subsequent case facts are alleged and sought to be proved by the prosecution which would be contrary to the finding given on the basis of those facts. It would be equally relevant to find out whether the point at issue between the parties, which was adjudicated upon was the same.
In order to invoke the rule of issue estoppel, not only parties in two trials must be the same but also fact in issue proved or not in earlier trial must be identical, with what is sought to be registered in the subsequent trial.
The doctrine of issue estoppel has no application to an appeal before the High Court against the conviction as it is not a subsequent proceeding against the acquitted person.