BARBADOS: MANDATORY DEATH PENALTY OUTLAWED
|The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ)
June 27, 2018:
The High Court in Barbados can no longer impose mandatory death sentences on convicted murderers. (Sources: caribbean360.com, 27/06/2018)
This morning, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), the island’s highest court, struck down the mandatory death penalty on the grounds that it is unconstitutional.
The judgments, the last which Sir Dennis Byron will deliver as CCJ President as he will demit office next Tuesday, were delivered in a pair of unrelated death penalty cases from Barbados – filed by lawyers for Jabari Sensimania Nervais and Dwayne Omar Severin – that were consolidated because both appeals challenged the murder convictions of each of the men and the constitutionality of the mandatory death sentence for murder in Barbados.
Although dismissing the appeals against their convictions, the CCJ ordered that the appellants be expeditiously taken before the local Supreme Court for resentencing.
Before examining the issues raised by the appeal, the CCJ considered the state of the mandatory death penalty in Barbados for murder and found that it was indisputable that the country had acknowledged that it had an obligation to remove such mandatory sentence under Section 2 of the Offences against the Person Act.
Barbados had also given undertakings to the CCJ and the Inter American Court of Human Rights to rectify the mandatory sentence.
The CCJ held that Section 11 of the Constitution, which gives the right to protection of the law, was enforceable, and that the mandatory death penalty breached that right as it deprived a court of the opportunity to exercise the quintessential judicial function of tailoring the punishment to fit the crime.