November 07, 2013

Caribbean Court of Justice president speaks on selection of judges

BOSTON, United States, Wednesday October 9, 2013, CMC – 

President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Sir Dennis Byron, says a conscious and forthright statement of dedication to achieving diversity should be noted when the Trinidad-based regional court is considering the diversity of its judicial appointments.

Addressing the International Bar Association (IBA) 2013 Conference here, Sir Dennis questioned how the CCJ, established in 2001 to replace the London-based Privy Council as the region’s highest court, takes into consideration the diversity of its judicial candidates.
“Complicating this question even more is the fact that it is unlikely that the pool of candidates, itself, will reflect the full diversity of the population. So, what should we do and what can we do?,” he asked as he addressed the topic “Considering Diversity: The Judicial Process for the CCJ and Beyond”.

Sir Dennis who served as Vice Chair of the Judges’ Forum panel discussion on “Appointing Judges: diversity or simply the best?” said the judicial selection criteria contained within the agreement establishing the CCJ does not offer much assistance.

He notes that in making appointments to the office of Judge, the agreement outlines issues such as high moral character, intellectual and analytical ability, sound judgment, integrity, and understanding of people and society.

“To be fair, the agreement does contemplate diversity, but only in the sense of intellectual diversity. It includes provisions requiring the inclusion of judges with expertise in international law and international trade law and allowing for candidates that have substantial judicial experience or academic experience in either common or civil law systems.”

He said even though the agreement does give some latitude to address the concept of diversity, the CCJ judicial qualification criteria are not an aberration in this regard, making reference to the Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda that similarly focuses on merit and intellectual expertise.

Sir Dennis said even the updated Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia uses identical language, leaving diversity entirely out of the statutorily required characteristics.

He said despite the fact that diversity is not listed in the selection criteria of the CCJ and other international tribunals, it does seem to be taken into consideration by those who are doing the selecting or the electing.

“While we cannot know the details of the discussion surrounding the appointment of the first panel of judges at the CCJ, we can see the result- a panel, of only seven judges but with differences including those of gender, colour, ethnicity, nationality, places of geographical origin, religion and background experience, Common Law and Civil Law.

“This difference between what is on paper and what actually transpires during the selection process seems to be quite common when we look at other courts,” he added.

But he said he does not think that these informal practices and conventions as practiced by some international courts also are quite enough to address the issue of diversity and public perception. “Projecting a diverse and inclusive face – one that reflects to some degree the population that is served – should be a priority for every court. And I suggest that for the CCJ, a court that has been tasked with deepening regional integration, this is even more important and more urgent.

“We take this charge seriously, and we have strived to employ a regional work force, to represent the diversity of the region in the official languages of the Court, to sound like the region in the accents you hear on our phone system, to look like the region in the faces and flags you see on the website. I think it is time to make this same dedication to regional diversity explicit in our judicial selection process.”

Sir Dennis said while a quota system can never be appropriate for the CCJ, given the sheer range of diversity in the region, he believes “that a conscious and forthright statement of dedication to achieving diversity as part of achieving the best CCJ bench, would be an enormous step in the right direction.

“Of course one must vigorously maintain that the qualities of sound intellect, extensive learning in the law and good character cannot be minimised or sacrificed.”

But he told the international conference that diversity should not be a tie-breaker, as it is in the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute Resolution (2011), but a fundamental consideration in the selection of the Bench from the range of candidates who are up to the standards required of a judge of the relevant court.

“It should make the Bench as a composite, better than a mere aggregation of the individuals on it. It should not be portrayed as ‘diversity or merit’ or even ‘diversity and merit,’ but as ‘diversity as a vital component of merit.”

But he said that the solution comes at a price and cannot beautomatic or magical.
“It is not up to the court or its selection process alone. The price may involve an element of public service. No one can be appointed to the CCJ Bench who does not apply, and it is well known in the Caribbean, that the levels of remuneration at the highest levels of the legal profession exceed that of the Bench.

“Let us be honest and upfront about the role of diversity in the Caribbean region. I think it would do much to send a signal to the people of the region that while every religion, ethnicity, and nation cannot be represented simultaneously on the bench, we do pay attention to these things and they are taken into consideration openly and honestly in the development of Caribbean jurisprudence,” he told the conference.

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Experts say Myrie ruling is a turning point for regional integration

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Tuesday November 5, 2013, CMC 

Almost a month after the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) ruled that Barbados had breached the rights of a Jamaican national when she sought entry into the country in 2011, regional stakeholders say the judgment represents a turning point for the regional integration movement.

The CCJ was established in 2001 to replace the London-based Privy Council as the region’s final court, but while many Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries are signatories to its original jurisdiction, only Barbados, Guyana and Belize are signatories to the appellate jurisdiction of the court that also serves as an international tribunal interpreting the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the integration movement.

At a panel discussion at the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies earlier this week, panellists examined the implications of the CCJ ruling in the Shanique Myrie case in which Barbados was also ordered to pay BDS$75,000 (one BDS dollar = US$0.50 cents) in compensation.

Myrie, who had been granted leave by the CCJ to file the action, alleged that when she travelled to Barbados on March 14, 2011 she was discriminated against because of her nationality, subjected to a body cavity search, detained overnight in a cell and deported to Jamaica the following day.

Myrie also claimed that she was subjected to derogatory remarks by a Barbadian Immigration officer and asked the CCJ to determine the minimum standard of treatment applicable to CARICOM citizens moving around the region.

Barbados Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite said that while the introduction of free movement within CARICOM though noble, it was not properly thought out.

Highlighting Barbados's concerns, he said there were not enough structures in place to ensure free movement work and if the region doesn't get it right, there will be chaos.
“We're faced with a situation where we are concerned about whether or not we have the capacity not only to provide housing for all of our people but for those of us, those people from the region who we would love to come to live with us.

“But we can't invite people to come and live with us and then we have six and eight people living in a room, sharing one bathroom etc., (these) kind of stories you hear from time to time.

“We have the whole issue of education. We, to the best of my knowledge are about three secondary schools behind where we would like to be and probably three or four junior schools from where we would like to be. If we want to invite our brothers and sisters we want to ensure that they also have access to education,” he said.

Brathwaite insisted there's nothing earth shattering about the Myrie judgement and that Bridgetown has already made moves to re-train its border personnel in keeping with the CCJ ruling.

But he stressed that all member states must follow suit to make free movement a reality.
“What we were doing is that we were granting three months initial and then if you want an extension come back and give us a chance so we can get an idea in terms of what you are doing, what you are up to and if you needed the additional three months then they will give you the additional three months.

“All it means now from a particular perspective is that you want the six months and rather than having the mechanism where you need to come back to us, if we think there are issues we will go to you. It means that we will have to have some additional bodies on the ground immigration-wise but that's what happens in most countries.

“So that's why I said it is really not a major issue. What might be the major issue would be the fact that we really have to change psyche of many Immigration Officers across the region. I have been in St Kitts going into Nevis and been asked how come I am going into Nevis so often? I have been asked that. So it is not a case where it only happens in Barbados,” he added.

But Dean at the UWI Faculty of Law, Dr David Berry, believes it is important Caribbean people are educated about their rights under the Treaty of Chaguaramas. He said the treaty does not in fact grant freedom of movement.

“It grants freedom of movement in Article 46 to CARICOM Skilled Nationals, certain categories of persons. So what the revised treaty does have is another provision which says towards the goal of free movement we will try to do these things.

“So Article 45 talks about a goal of free movement and Article 46 is of one instance of free movement. So the revised treaty itself, and this was argued before the court, does not give a full blown right of freedom of movement.”

He said the regional leaders at their conference in 2007 created in a sense a right of free movement. “They created an automatic right to enter and stay for six months subject to sufficiency of will not become a burden on the public purse and that you are not undesirable. So those are the two criteria.”

But Dr Tennyson Joseph, the head of the Department of Government, Sociology and Social Work at the university said the Myrie ruling has forced the region to rethink the concept of sovereignty.

He said the region's current economic troubles have also led some governments to look inward, moving away from the vision of deeper integration articulated by the framers of the “Time for Action” report who laid the foundation for strengthening of CARICOM and the integration movement.

“Whether or not the rationale that they identified which forced them to ask for a revised treaty, has either deepened or diminished, I would say that the challenges are greater. But because the challenges are greater one of the tendencies is for us to become regionalist instead of xenophobic.

“Instead of redefining sovereignty towards more regional framework, we turn inwards. Hitler faced a similar issue in his time in the First World War period, where he was facing an economic crisis and you know which choice that he took.

“Sovereignty is malleable, that the nation of citizenship is malleable. Globalization has raised new questions about what is a citizen. What is a state and what sovereignty,” Joseph added.
Another academic, Orlando Marville, the coordinator, Law, Governance and Society at the UWI said political leaders must do more to build a community.

He said ordinary citizens were making integration a lived reality and it's time for the political directorate to speed up the process.

“Very often ordinary people sometimes appreciate the community that we have more than the political agents. We sometimes make promises or agree to things that they know that they are not going to do, until come back to bite them.

“We have to have the sort of commonness that exist for instance among our musicians. I have been in Suriname and heard Surinamese sing bits of songs from Kross Fyah (in Barbados). Alison Hinds sings a song from Suriname as part of her thing and these musicians all believe in our community.

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October 30, 2013

Myrie Case Cited As Good Example Of CCJ Performance


St Kitts and Nevis (WINN):

The Shanique Myrie case is being held up by one retired jurist as an example of “how well” the Caribbean Court of Justice is working.
Former Chief Justice of the OECS Supreme Court, Sir Brian Alleyne, says critics of the CCJ should note that the results of the case speak volumes about the independence of the court and the professionalism of the Justices who sit on that court.
Sir Brian says too often local courts are abused verbally because those concerned contend that rulings are made based on bias rather than on merit.
He says these criticisms often go on to expand into suggestions that Caribbean states should keep the London-based Privy Council instead of signing up to the CCJ as their final appellate body.
“The recent decision of the Myrie case in the Caribbean Court of Justice is a good example I think, of the independence of the court’” Sir Brian told WINN FM.
“The court deciding in favour of the citizen over the interests of Barbados -  to me that’s a very strong indication of the independence of the Court.  I think judges are very aware of their responsibility and the traditions which govern the independence of the judiciary,” the retired justice said.
Vincentian attorney Kay Bacchus Browne remains unconvinced however, that the CCJ is the way to go.
Only three Caribbean countries: Barbados, Belize and Guyana, have the Caribbean Court as their final appellate jurisdiction to date.
“I think that the courts are somehow too near to the political directorate, and they are appointed by the political directorate even thought it may be constituted in a different name,” the Vincentian lawyer said.
Meanwhile the president of the St Kitts and Nevis Bar Association – Charles Wilkin QC, says he is concerned that some leading politicians in the region pay only lip service to the regional court. - 

See more at:

JLP senator’s CCJ call dangerously frightening — Nicholson - News -

JLP senator’s CCJ call dangerously frightening — Nicholson - News -

Monday, October 28, 2013
LEADER of Government Business in the Senate, A J Nicholson has lashed Opposition Senator Alexander Williams for his call for the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) to be deeply entrenched in the constitution.
Nicholson, in a letter to the editor yesterday, described the call as "dangerously frightening in the extreme", saying entrenchment in the constitution would require an unnecessary referendum costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.
NICHOLSON... where does Senator Williams' partisan political leaning take him? & WILLIAMS... calls for CCJ to be deeply entrenched in the constitution
Following is the full text of the letter:
"As you can well imagine, for me, Senator Alexander Williams' pronouncement in the Senate on Friday last is dangerously frightening in the extreme.
"He admits up front that 'matters relating to the judiciary should not be exposed to the political hustings'."
"The attorney/senator could hardly deny that, for that is the core reason why no former colony of Britain has established its final court of appeal to replace the Privy Council by means of a referendum, which, as Williams realises, is essentially a political exercise.
"But then, the partisan political clothing takes over. Come hell or high water, the JLP insists on a referendum, no matter what that might do to our judiciary.
"There is, of course, no requirement, on any score, of a referendum for Jamaica to have the CCJ as our final court of appeal, and for the court to be entrenched in our constitution. And the Privy Council itself has said so.
"So, where does Senator Williams' partisan political leaning take him? To an utterly new call for the CCJ to be DEEPLY ENTRENCHED in our constitution, which, constitutionally, requires a referendum for that to be accomplished.
"By that means, Senator Alexander Williams ('Smart Alec'?), brushing aside his premise of historical soundness, proceeds to declare: to hell with the Privy Council ruling, which was itself sought by the JLP; to hell with the hundreds of millions of taxpayers' dollars required for the holding of an unnecessary referendum, inter alia; we, the JLP Opposition, by any means necessary, insist on a referendum, even if voting for the Bills which are soon to come to the Senate will grant our people ready access to their final court -- a privilege denied to the vast majority of Jamaicans for centuries.
"Oh, the pernicious power of partisan political practice!"

Read more:

October 04, 2013

CCJ ruling: Shanique Myrie to be awarded J$3.6m - News - Latest News - Jamaica Gleaner

KINGSTON, Jamaica: 
The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has ruled that Jamaican Shanique Myrie be awarded a total of Bds$75,000 or $3.6m Jamaican dollars. 

The ruling by the six-member panel was delivered via a video conference in the Supreme Court. 

The court declared that the Barbados government breached Myrie’s right to enter the country under article 5 of the revised treaty of Chaguaramas. 

Myrie took the Barbados Government to the CCJ alleging that she was discriminated against because of her nationality when she arrived in Barbados on March 14, 2011. 

The 25-year-old also claims she was subjected to a body-cavity search in unsanitary and demeaning conditions before being detained and deported the next day to Jamaica. 

The Barbados Government denied the claims and argued at the hearing that the Jamaican woman had been untruthful to Immigration Department officials. 

Its lawyers also contended that her testimony was contrary to what she had provided in statements to the Barbadian police. 

Myrie wanted the CCJ to determine the minimum standard of treatment for CARICOM citizens moving within the region under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. 

Myrie had asked the CCJ to award her almost US$500,000 in punitive damages for the treatment she received on her visit to Barbados. 

She also wanted the regional court to award costs and special damages. 


March 14, 2011 – Myrie travels to Barbados and was deinied entry after reported inhumane cavity search. 

January 12, 2012 – Application filed to Caribbean Court of Justice after Jamaican and Barbadian authorities failed to arrive at a settlement. 

February 17, 2012 – First case management hearing by video link from the Supreme Court to ensure all relevant documents were filed and the way the case should proceed. 

April 20, 2012 – CCJ ruled that there was sufficient grounds for Myrie's case to be heard. 

September 27, 2012 – Jamaican government given permission by the CCJ to intervene in the hearing. 

December 12, 2012 - During a case management conference by video link at the Supreme Court a trial date was set for the hearing to start March 4, 2013 in Jamaica to reduce expenses for Myrie. 

March 4-6, 2013 – CCJ sits at Jamaica Conference Centre, Kingston, Jamaica to hear Myrie's testimony. 

March 18 and 19, 2013 – case resumes in Barbados where the Barbadian government presented its case. 

April 8 and 9, 2013 – Final hearing at which the lawyers made submissions before the CCJ at its Headquarters in Trinidad. 

October 4, 2013 – CCJ ruling handed down. 

July 18, 2013

CCJ to hold sittings in Jamaica and Barbados for Shanique Myrie case

CCJ to hold sittings in Jamaica and Barbados for Shanique Myrie case
Source: Caribbean 360
PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, Tuesday March 5, 2013 – The Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) will hold its first ever sitting in Jamaica next week to hear evidence from witnesses in the case in which a Jamaican national has sued Barbados.

Shanique Myrie, 25, who was granted leave by the CCJ to file the action, alleges that when she travelled to Barbados on March 14, 2011 she was discriminated against because of her nationality, subjected to a body cavity search, detained overnight in a cell and deported to Jamaica the following day.

Myrie also claimed that she was subjected to derogatory remarks by a Barbadian Immigration officer at the Grantley Adams International Airport and is asking the CCJ to determine the minimum standard of treatment applicable to CARICOM citizens moving around the region.

On September 27 last year, Jamaica was granted leave to intervene in the matter.
Myrie, through her attorneys, informed the CCJ that she could not afford to bring her witnesses to Port- of-Spain for the hearing and therefore she was unable to adequately present her case to the Court.

The CCJ said that it had explored the use of videoconferencing technology to take the evidence of the witnesses, but after consulting with attorneys it was decided that the evidence should be given in person and for this purpose the Court will sit in Jamaica to hear the evidence of the witnesses for the Claimant and the Intervener.

The CCJ will sit at the Jamaica Conference Centre from Monday until Friday and will hear testimony from 10 witnesses. It said it is paying for the costs of the sitting which include airfare, accommodation and its other expense while the Jamaica government will provide security for the Court.

The CCJ said it would also sit in Barbados from March 18 to 22 to hear the evidence of the witnesses of the Defendant.

The CCJ was established in 2011 to replace to London-based Privy Council as the region’s final court of appeal. It has both an original and appellate jurisdiction and also serves as an international tribunal interpreting the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping including the CARICOM Single Market and Economy that allows for free movement of within the grouping.(CMC)

Jamaican Gay Man Takes Belize, Trinidad to Court Over Discriminatory Immigration Laws

Jamaican Gay Man Takes Belize, Trinidad to Court Over
 Discriminatory Immigratiion Laws
Wed, July 17, 2013

Source: Channel 7 Daily News
Published : July 17, 2013

The country is waiting patiently for Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin to rule 
on the UNIBAM challenge to Belize’s Sodomy Laws. Well, before that 
decision is handed down, another of Belize's sexually discriminatory laws
 is being challenged at the highest court in the land, the Caribbean Court 
of Justice.

Viewers may remember, Maurice Tomlinson, the Jamaican Gay Activist who
 turned down UNIBAM’s invitation to conduct sensitization sessions. 
He did that because he discovered that under Section 5 of Belize’s 
Immigration Act, he would be breaking the laws to enter the country 
to conduct this workshop.

This section states that prohibited immigrants include, quote
 "Any prostitute or homosexual who may have been living 
off or receiving proceeds of prostitution or homosexual behavior," end quote.
Tomlinson, who is married to a Canadian man, says that this law violates 
his right to freedom of movement within the Caribbean Community.

Trinidad and Tobago is the only other member of CARICOM which
 shares immigration laws similar to this one, and as a result, he has taken a
 challenge to the CCJ – in Trinidad - forcing both countries to respond.

Tomlinson has been to Belize twice, and in both visits, Belizean authorities 
did not enforce this law against him, so his home nation, Jamaica, has 
decided to stay out of this issue because his rights have not actually been 

His matter was called up today and via teleconference and Government 
Representatives from both countries presented themselves for case

Because Jamaica has refused to intervene as a state, Tomlinson’s attorney 
notified the CCJ judges’ panel that they were making an application for 
special leave to be heard as an individual.

That’s important because this is what’s known as an original jurisdiction matter,
 and only states can usually be granted such access to the court.

Nontheless, there are exceptions and the court has scheduled this application
 hearing for November 12. If Tomlinson can provide a strong case, the court 
will grant him leave to bring his challenge to both countries’ immigration laws.

Deputy Solicitor General Nigel Hawke is the lead attorney representing the 
Government of Belize, along with other Crown Counsels from the office of the 
Solicitor General.

We’ll keep following this story as it develops.

May 19, 2013

The CCJ And The Death Penalty

Sunday, May 19, 2013
Source: Trinidad Guardian

Last week in the Senate an interesting exchange took place between Attorney General Anand Ramlogan and some PNM senators during the period set aside for questions to ministers. The essence of the argument was that the Attorney General indicated that he could prepare a draft bill within 48 hours on the death penalty. 

He then challenged the PNM senators to state for the record whether they would be willing to support the abolition of appeals to the Privy Council on criminal matters only and to substitute the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as the final court of appeal for criminal matters only. There was no response from the PNM senators on this point and so the issue ended in a stalemate.  

However, what emerged was that the Government is still committed to the idea of having the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council replaced by the CCJ as the final court of appeal for criminal matters, while simultaneously moving forward with an amendment to the Constitution to oust the jurisdiction of the court from challenging the constitutionality of the death penalty.

In order to accomplish all of this, such legislation would require a three-fourths majority in the House and a two-thirds majority in the Senate. The last time that the capital punishment legislation was brought to the House, in February 2011, the Opposition PNM did not support it and the bill died at that stage.

The matter was recently revived by the Prime Minister when she indicated at a UNC Monday Night Forum in Barataria some weeks ago that she was prepared to bring that legislation back to Parliament. The Attorney General has now revived the earlier proposal for the substitution of criminal jurisdiction of the Privy Council with the CCJ. The heart of the story lies in the approach that has been adopted by the Privy Council over the years in respect of the death penalty in the Commonwealth Caribbean. 

Since it was established that the death penalty is indeed a proper form of constitutional punishment in the case of De Freitas v Benny (1976)AC 239 where Michael de Freitas, also known as Michael Abdul Malik, had his death sentence confirmed on the ground that it was not “cruel and unusual punishment” to hang him for the murder of British socialite Gale Ann Benson at Christina Gardens in Arima, there have been twists and turns over the years. 

Coming out of that same murder, Stanley Abbott had had his death sentence confirmed in the case of Abbott v Attorney General (1979)1WLR 1342 where Lord Diplock set aside the issue of delay of execution measured in months, owing to the transition of T&T from monarchical to republican status in 1976. However, he left open the issue of delay of execution measured in years and that would prove to be a game-changer for the death-penalty debate in years to come.

In 1982, the Privy Council divided three-two in favour of carrying out the death penalty in the Jamaican case of Riley and Others v Attorney General (1982)35 WIR 279 whereby the issue of delay of execution measured in years was not overcome by the human-rights issue of delay of execution rendering invalid the actual execution itself thereby making it “inhuman and degrading punishment.”

Lords Diplock, Hailsham and Bridge were in the majority, while Lords Scarman and Brightman were in the minority. Some 11 years later, in the landmark case of Pratt and Another v Attorney General of Jamaica (1993)43 WIR 340 the Privy Council accepted the argument of delay of execution as rendering the death sentence unconstitutional if it is not carried out within five years of the sentencing date.

By this time, Lords Diplock and Hailsham had left the bench and some less-conservative judges had been appointed to the British House of Lords as Law Lords. This ushered in an era of abolitionist judges as members of judicial panels who were prepared to adopt an approach that placed them at loggerheads with Commonwealth Caribbean governments on the issue of the death penalty.

Several cases were quite controversially decided that raised issues of whether this was “judicial politics” at work as opposed to the application of existing law. One of them was the Guerra v Baptiste case (1996)1 AC 397 from T&T, which admonished the State for trying to carry out the execution of Lincoln Guerra too swiftly for the murder of Leslie Ann Girod and her baby in Wallerfield.

By 2000, the Jamaican case of Lewis v Attorney General (2001)2 AC 50 constructively abolished the death penalty in the region when the Privy Council held that the decisions of the Mercy Committee were now reviewable, which overturned the ruling in De Freitas v Benny, that states must now await the responses of international human-rights bodies on petitions of reprieve before carrying out executions, and that prison conditions must be taken into account.

Other controversies have arisen over mandatory and discretionary sentencing. However, the death penalty remains in limbo, with the Privy Council precedents holding firm.

April 22, 2013

Under Scrutiny: Desist in the name of ‘sub judice’!
Source: Barbados Avocate
Published: 4/22/2013
By Stephen Alleyne

During the Barbados leg of the Shanique Myrie hearing before the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), a number of callers on the radio call-in programmes sought to discuss the evidence as it unfolded, only to be reminded by the hosts, and some callers, that the matter ‘was sub judice’, that is, under judicial consideration. The hosts, in other words, preferred they didn’t go there for fear that their stations could be cited for contempt of court since the matter was yet to be decided. 

The sub judice rule was developed to regulate the publication of matters which are under consideration of a court; and, it has been suggested that a criminal matter is under the consideration of a judge from the time it becomes active, active here taking on a broad meaning. That is (1) once the accused is arrested, (2) a warrant has been issued for his arrest, (3) a summons has been issued for his attendance on an information, or (4) he has been charged. However, the better view is that expressed in (3) and (4) above and followed in R v Duffy and Others, Ex parte Nash [1967] 2 QB 188: 

“[I]t is clear on the authorities that proceedings are pending in this sense from the time that a person is charged even though he has not been committed for trial.” 

Proceedings, according to the cases, cease to be active or are finally over “when the Court of Criminal Appeal (I’d say the final court of appeal, which in Barbados is the CCJ) has heard and determined the appeal, and after that time they are in no peril of being dealt with for contempt of court.” – Delbert-Evans v Davies and Watson [1945] 2 All ER 167

Not everything that is published about a matter that is sub judice offends the sub judice rule, however. Media practitioners know that a fair, accurate and contemporaneous report of proceedings in public before a court is protected by absolute privilege under the Defamation Act, Cap. 199. Trouble can surface, however, when the media impose their opinion on the facts of a case, and this is where they have to be extremely careful. In spite of the risk, the media must not be afraid to allow members of the public to have their say in proper cases. 

An article published in a newspaper or broadcast over air concerning a matter that is sub judice is only a contempt of court if in the circumstances existing at the time of publication the article was intended or calculated to prejudice the fair hearing of the proceedings. The media in the name of the sub judice rule must therefore not stifle public discussion in cases of significant public interest like the Myrie case. In determining how far they can go in giving their views and permitting public discussion on sub judice matters, the media must have regard to the nature or composition of the court. Judges, unlike juries, are trained to guard themselves against prejudicial comments and extraneous influences. 

Hence, it is difficult to envision what could be said in the media to influence or prejudice the decision of a panel of Court of Appeal or CCJ judges. 

So, this hard and fast policy of the media in not allowing callers or writers to discuss judicial matters of any kind is, I suspect, either originated out of ignorance or misadvice. 

February 27, 2013

Caribbean Court Of Justice Upholds Pastor’s Conviction For Indecent Assault

Caribbean Court Of Justice Upholds Pastor's Conviction For ...
Published in CaribSeek by Doneth Brown-Reid

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CCJ) -- Jippy Doyle, an evangelist, was convicted of the rape of a girl, then aged 13, and was sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment. Doyle was the pastor of the Dominion Life Centre, Barbados where the girl and her mother were members.
Doyle appealed to the Barbados Court of Appeal who ruled that the High Court judge was wrong to tell the jury that the girl was legally "incapable of giving her consent to sexual intercourse", and that if the jury found that Doyle had intercourse with her there would be no difficulty in finding that he committed rape. 
The Court of Appeal acquitted Doyle of rape and substituted the lesser offence of indecent assault. That was an offence which, on the facts proved, the jury could have found him guilty. The Court of Appeal sentenced the appellant to three years' imprisonment from the date of the original sentence in accordance with relevant sentencing guidelines in force in Barbados. Doyle applied for leave to appeal to the Caribbean Court of Justice against both the verdict and the sentence issued by the Barbados Court of Appeal. The CCJ dismissed Doyle’s application for leave to appeal, stating that there was “no arguable case that the Court of Appeal was wrong”. In addition, the CCJ noted several flaws in Doyle’s application. 
The CCJ reiterated that generally, it will only intervene in criminal cases where a serious miscarriage of justice may have occurred in the lower court or where a point of law of public importance is raised and the applicant persuades the Court that if not overturned a questionable precedent might be recorded. Since Doyle’s Counsel did not provide specific evidence to support his allegations that the trial was unfair, the CCJ saw no reason to grant leave to appeal.
This summary is intended to assist the Caribbean public in learning more about the work of the CCJ. It is not a formal document of the Court. The judgment of the Court is the only authoritative document and it can be downloaded below for further reading.

January 19, 2013

Wickham: Time to join CCJ



It is time that Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago fully sign on to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as their final court of appeal.
This is coming from political scientist Peter Wickham, who thinks that both countries have a moral duty to accept the court.
Asked if those countries’ positions could demoralize the spirit of regional integration, especially now that Jamaica was using the court’s original jurisdiction to litigate the case of Shanique Myrie, one of its citizens, Wickham said: “I agree with you that the litigation is adding value to the argument that Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago ought to be part of the CCJ.
“The important thing to understand though is that the Myrie litigation is taking place under a component of the CCJ that both Jamaica and Trinidad are already signed on to. So we have to understand that they are in conformity with the aspects of the CCJ that is logical for the action that they are taking.” (JS)

Dominica seeks to end ties with Privy Council


Pubished WED, JANUARY 02, 2013 - 4:23 PM

ROSEAU, Dominica –Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit says he intends writing Britain later this month seeking permission for Dominica to sever ties with the London-based Privy Council in order to join the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
“This month, January 2013 God’s willing, we shall write formally to the British government indicating to them our intention of severing ties with the Privy Council and seeking their agreement on that,” Skerrit said.
“As you know the Constitution of Dominica calls for a negotiated departure with the British government,” Skerrit said, adding “if that is done it will not require a referendum, so we just have to get an agreement with the British government.
“Certainly in 2013 Dominica will move very speedily to recognise the CCJ as our final court,” he said, noting that the island has been paying for the regional court established in 2001 to replace the Privy Council.
CARICOM countries have taken a US$100 million loan from the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to meet the operation of the CCJ and ensure its financial independence.