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PRIME Minister Hubert Ingraham revealed yesterday that Senior Justice Anita Allen will be appointed as President of the Bahamas Court of Appeal in January 2011, with incumbent President Dame Joan Sawyer set to retire this month.
Prime Minister Ingraham revealed the intended appointment at a televised press conference at the British Colonial Hotel yesterday.
Senior Justice Anita Allen will be made President of the Court of Appeal in January, Prime Minister Ingraham said yesterday.
The constitutional retirement age of a Court of Appeal Justice is 68, however Dame Joan will turn 70 on November 26 and complete the two-year granted extension.
Dame Joan was appointed President of the Court of Ap ...
Civil Society Says Accession to the Rome Statute Will Pave the Way for the Establishment of a Culture of Peace and Justice
York, USA - The Coalition for the International Criminal Court today
called on Nepal to demonstrate its commitment to justice and the rule of
law by acceding to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
(ICC)--the world's first and only permanent international court to
prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Nepal,
together with Rwanda, is the focus of the Coalition's Universal
Ratification Campaign (URC) for August 2012, a monthly campaign launched
to call upon a different country to join the Rome Statute--the ICC's
Suspects to be arraigned in court today - As a result of intense police investigations into a number of serious crimes, Central Detective Unit Officers have charged the following persons who will appear in the Magistrate's Court, Nassau Street today to be formally charged...
A U.S court has dismissed a case termed "straight out of a Hollywood script" involving a top law firm, an offshore bank and a $14 million inheritance, citing lack of jurisdiction.
When the celebrations for Mark Knowles come to an end the former Bahamian tennis pro, could go to the Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association's (BLTA) National Tennis Centre and watch the young and upcoming stars train on a facility named in his honor.
Preliminary issues were raised in the Supreme Court yesterday as a hearing over a bid to block the sale of 51 per cent of BTC to Cable and Wireless was due to open.
The hearing took placed in closed court before Justice Neville Adderley. Last month, unions representing BTC workers filed a writ in an attempt to block the sale of BTC.
The unions, the Bahamas Communications and Public Officers Union (BCPOU) and the Bahamas Public Managers Union (BCPMU), filed a joint action in the Supreme Court raising a number of issues, among them questioning the right of
President of the Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union (BHCAWU) Nicole Martin yesterday appealed a Supreme Court ruling that ordered the union's Executive Council to hold an election on or before February 28, despite previously stating she would not appeal.
The debate over the Privy Council and whether The Bahamas should retain it as its final court of appeal was thrust back into the spotlight last week, when Law Lords in London ruled that Maxo Tido, convicted of the brutal murder of a teenage girl, should not have been sentenced to death for his crime.
In its ruling handed down on June 15, the Privy Council said that the crime did not warrant execution. "This was, in short, an appalling murder but not one which warrants the most condign punishment of death," wrote the Law Lords.
The case has now been sent back to the Court of Appeal for the imposition of "the appropriate sentence".
Execution remains the most severe punishment prescribed by the state for the crime of murder.
And it is frustrating to many that it is virtually impossible to carry out that punishment due to the appeals process, which normally takes years to complete.
Despite the regularity of the issuance of the death sentence, executions are uncommon. There has not been a hanging in The Bahamas since David Mitchell was executed on January 6, 2000.
In the 1993 Pratt and Morgan ruling, Her Majesty's Privy Council ruled that it would be cruel and inhumane to execute a murder convict more than five years after the death sentence was issued.
This ruling slowed the execution process. Murder trials take a long time to come up in this country and the appeals process after the death sentence is issued also takes years.
The country hanged 50 men since 1929, according to records kept at Her Majesty's Prison. Five of them were hanged under the first two Ingraham administrations (1992-2002); 13 were hanged under the 25-year rule of the Pindling government (1967-1992); and the remainder were executed between 1929 and 1967.
In 2006, the Privy Council also issued a ruling stating that the section of the Penal Code requiring a sentence of death be passed on any defendant convicted of murder "should be construed as imposing a discretionary and not a mandatory sentence of death."
The government has acknowledged that hangings are unlikely considering the five-year rule and the amount of time it takes for the appeals process to take place. However, despite this acknowledgment, capital punishment remains a legal punishment.
This commentary is not intended to offer an opinion on whether or not capital punishment is a fair or reasonable punishment. There are good arguments for and against hangings.
What is clear is that it is virtually impossible for the death sentence to be carried out. And appeals against the sentence add to the backlog of cases before various courts. The appeals waste time and money.
Anecdotally, the majority of Bahamians appear in favor of executions.
But what is the point of having the death penalty on the books if it is virtually impossible to carry out? Either we end the death penalty or divorce ourselves from the Privy Council.
As we all consider ways to reduce the number of matters before the court in order to make the criminal justice system more efficient, we must put this issue up for debate. Emotionalism is useless. The facts are the facts. Hangings, though desired, are unlikely.
We must now at least start the discussion of the post-hanging period in The Bahamas.
If we are to retain our relationship with the Privy Council -- and there are a number of sound reasons why we should -- new laws are needed, creating categories of murder. A proper definition of life in prison must also be brought forward along with a proper system of parole.
These are the issues that need to be debated when it comes to dealing with those who murder.
Either we accept the reality that our relationship with the Privy Council amounts to an end to the death penalty, or we seriously consider what it would mean to end our relationship with the Privy Council.
Halsbury Chambers Partner Nerissa Greene Wins Precedent-Setting Case Involving Prenuptial Agreements
Nerissa A. Greene, partner, Halsbury Chambers wins precedent-setting case in support of pre-nuptial agreements. Chief Justice Sir Michael Barnett issued a comprehensive 24-page ruling affirming the contract.
The 18th Annual Clay Court Championships, sponsored by AID, will be held at the Gym Tennis Club in Winton Meadows, from August
This tournament is perennially the most eagerly anticipated event on the local tennis calendar and will feature competition
in nine categories - Boys and Girls Under-18 Singles, Gentlemen's and Ladies Singles and Doubles, Gentlemen's Junior Vets
Singles and Doubles and Mixed Doubles. Competitors can enter a maximum of three events.
While facing the challenge of re-building their flagship store recently lost to fire, AID has re-affirmed its longstanding
commitment to the tournament. AID spokesperson Janelle Watson-Davis commented: "Although our business has been disrupted by
the fire, it will be business as usual on the courts and we look forward to the usual player participation."
The entry deadline is Wednesday August 10, at 6:00 p.m. and entries can be e-mailed to email@example.com or delivered
to the Gym Tennis Club before that time. Entry forms are available at the club, the Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association's (BLTA)
National Tennis Centre and other local clubs. Entry fees are $15 for each singles entry, and $10 per player for each doubles
entry. All entrants must be fully paid up members of the BLTA.
The draws for all divisions will take place at the Gym Tennis Club on Thursday, August 11 at 6:00 p.m.
Opposition Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis said last night he intends to table a bill in the House of Assembly today that would remove the impediments to capital punishment.
"We acknowledge the preponderance of modern research which asserts that it cannot be shown that the death penalty has a deterrent effect upon the mind of the would-be murderer," said Minnis in a new year's address televised on Cable 12.
"That may be so, but what is also clear in our Bahamas is that today there is a hardened criminal element who have nothing but contempt for law, order, or human suffering, and for whom there is no respect for human life, even the lives of innocent by-standers and children.
"At the very least there should be the certainty of sure punishment, and punishment which is appropriate to the crimes committed."
Minnis said the bill would address several weaknesses in the laws that have caused the Privy Council to overturn capital sentences for convicted murderers.
He said the bill would mandate that an appeal against the death penalty can only be made to The Bahamas' Court of Appeal and nowhere else; and if a delay between the conviction of the murderer and the proposed date of hanging is caused then the five-year limit imposed by the Privy Council would not apply.
Minnis said the bill would also mandate that the governor general prescribe time limits for the lodging and conclusion of all appeals against conviction, or constitutional appeals, and if the same are not concluded within such time limits, the Advisory Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy would be able to advise that the law should be brought into execution.
He said the bill would also seek to remove the constitutional right to trial by jury in cases of murder, manslaughter, or crimes involving the use of firearms to inflict harm or death, and particularly in instances where there is a likelihood of jury or witness tampering or intimidation.
He said in such instances the case would be heard by a panel of two Supreme Court judges along with a qualified non-judicial attorney called an assessor.
He noted that as the bill seeks to affect fundamental rights and freedoms, which are enshrined in the constitution, it would require a national constitutional referendum.
"My fellow Bahamians, it will be up to each and every one of you to decide whether these proposals become law by way of an amendment of our constitution," he said.
The last hanging in The Bahamas was carried out on January 6, 2000 when David Mitchell was executed for murdering a German couple.
There are three men in the country who are under the sentence of death: Kofhe Goodman, Anthony Clarke Jr. and Mario Flowers.
Chairman of the Constitutional Commission Sean McWeeney noted on Monday that capital punishment is unlikely as long as the Privy Council is the final court of appeal for the country.
The Constitutional Commission last year recommended the retention of the Privy Council as the final court of appeal, but called for the government to amend the law to increase the likelihood that the death penalty would be carried out.
It said Parliament should amend the law to "tie the hands" of the Privy Council.
In March 2006, the Privy Council ruled that the mandatory death sentence in The Bahamas was unconstitutional. Following that ruling, several men who were sentenced to death were resentenced to life in prison.
In 2011, Parliament passed a law outlining the categories of murder which would attract the death penalty.
Prime Minister Perry Christie recently told The Guardian that the government is "seriously considering" strengthening those laws.
The Bahamas hanged 50 men since 1929, according to records at Her Majesty's Prisons.
His Excellency, the Governor-General, has, on the advice of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission, appointed Mrs Claire Hepburn as a Justice of the Supreme Court and has conferred on the Honourable Mr Justice Lyons the title of “Senior Justice”.
A magistrate on Thursday fined a Jamaican man for deceiving a public officer.
Cleveland James, 40, of Pinewood Drive, pleaded guilty to the charge when he made his initial appearance before Chief Magistrate Roger Gomez.
Asked why he gave police a false name, James told the magistrate, "I was scared."
James, who is in the country illegally, told the court that he is married to a Bahamian, who did not "put in the [immigration] papers".
Corporal Catherine Darling, the prosecutor, told the court that police found James spraying a car on Malcolm Road West.
When the officers asked James his name, he gave a false one, Darling said.
However, they later found an ID in the defendant's name. When questioned about the ID, James told the officers that it belonged to his brother who had already left The Bahamas.
Gomez gave James the option of a $50 fine or spending one month in prison. The court also recommended early deportation.