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News Article
Crime Bills Debate Contribution - Minister Tommy Turnquest
October 20, 2011
Crime Bills Debate Contribution - Minister Tommy Turnquest

HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY
CONTRIBUTION BY


HON. TOMMY TURNQUEST, M.P.
MINISTER OF NATIOAL SECURITY

ON

COMPENDIUM OF ANTI-CRIME BILLS


Wednesday 19th October, 2011

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News Article

January 15, 2014
Appeals court to consider resentence on manslaughter

The Court of Appeal will today hear arguments on the appropriate sentence for a man whose murder conviction was reduced to manslaughter on appeal.
After substituting the murder conviction with one of manslaughter, the Court of Appeal gave Dominique Moss a 25-year sentence for killing a woman in Freeport, Grand Bahama.
The Privy Council sent the case back to the Court of Appeal last November after ruling that Moss had the right to be heard on an appropriate penalty.
At the Privy Council, Moss' attorney argued that the sentence of 25 years is, on the facts of this case, manifestly excessive both generally and in particular because the sentence imposed by the trial judge on his co-accused was one of six years.
The court ruled, "The defendant was, and is, entitled to address the proper factual basis for sentence now that the conviction for murder has been quashed.
"He is entitled to address the relative roles of the two accused. He is entitled to address the proper tariff for manslaughter in The Bahamas, the proper place within that tariff for the present."
The high court was referring to the sentencing range for manslaughter, and whether the crime deserves the most severe penalty.
In the early hours of the morning, the defendant and his co-accused took the female victim from a bar and onto a golf course with the object of having sexual intercourse with her, according to the evidence.
There was evidence that she was reluctant to go. Her body was found the next morning in standing water on the course.
Her throat had been cut to the extent that her head was almost severed from her body. There were signs of sexual assault. In police interviews Moss and Lotmore each asserted that the other had killed her.

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News Article

November 26, 2010
NEW COURT OF APPEAL PRESIDENT SWORN IN

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Staff Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

NEW Court of Appeal President Anita Allen called her appointment to the head of the Bahamas' appellate court the "culmination and exclamation point of a lifelong love and passion for the law."

Judge Allen, formerly a senior justice of the Supreme Court, was sworn in yesterday as the new president of the Bahamas Court of Appeal at a brief ceremony at Government House attended by about 300 guests.

"There are defining moments in one's life, and certainly, today is one of them for me. It is the culmination and exclamation point of a lifelong love of and passion for the law," Judge Allen said after ...

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News Article

October 01, 2013
Court reporters stage sick-out

A sick-out by 25 stenographers crippled operations at the courts yesterday as there was no one to take the official record of some proceedings...

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News Article
Government To Abide By Court Order
January 31, 2013
Government To Abide By Court Order

The Government of the Bahamas and the police will not be taking any action against the patrons and operators of local "web shops" pending the outcome of a "conservatory order" filed by attorney Wayne Munroe.

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News Article

October 25, 2012
Constitutional reform, pt. 10

The Bahamas has executed by hanging 50 condemned persons from December 1929 to January 6, 2000, pursuant to the sentence of death pronounced by the Supreme Court of The Bahamas. There is presently one condemned prisoner awaiting execution. The murder rate is currently at 94 and climbing. Therefore, the fear of violent crime has elicited a public cry for a solution to crime. For some the resumption of hanging is the answer, in spite of the compelling evidence that capital punishment is not a deterrent to the rising rate of violent crime and the risk of wrongful convictions.
Professor Ann Spackman, in her book "Constitutional Development of the West Indies 1922-1968" (1975) at page 21, argues that one of the legacies of plantation slavery, colonialism and racial oppression in the Caribbean is the continuing "emphasis on coercion and control" and the existence of harsh laws enforced in a punitive spirit during most of the historical experience of the Caribbean since 1492.

Lloyd Barnett, Q.C., in an essay entitled "The Present Position Regarding the Enforcement of Human Rights in the Commonwealth" in the West Indian Law Journal (November 1980), counters that the Commonwealth Caribbean, in addition to having legacies of slavery and colonialism, has also been the beneficiary of the common law which flowered into passionate self-determination and aspiring constitutionalism.
However, the challenge facing constitutional jurisprudence in the Caribbean is to move away from the English techniques of statutory interpretation, applicable to ordinary legislation, when interpreting the Constitution that requires a more flexible and purposive interpretation, informed by international human rights instruments and the evolving global standard of human rights, human decency and norm of respect. The Privy Council, in A.G. of Gambia v. Jobe (1985), held that there should be a liberal and contextual construction of the Constitution to give effect to the intent and purpose of the Constitution.
The tension between the punitive application of the law and restorative justice approach is most vividly illustrated around the issue of the death penalty in The Bahamas. Articles 16, 17 and 30 of the Bahamian Constitution provide:
16. (1) No person shall be deprived intentionally of his life save in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offense of which he has been convicted.
(2) A person shall not be regarded as having been deprived of his life in contravention of this Article if he dies as a result of the use, to such extent and in such circumstances as are permitted by law, of such force as is reasonably justified...
17. (1) No person shall be subjected to torture to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
(2) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of this Article to the extent that the law in question authorizes the infliction of any description of punishment that was lawful in the Bahama Islands immediately before 10th July 1973.
30. (1)... Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any written law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of any provision of Articles 16 to 27 (inclusive) of this Constitution to the extent that the law in question -
(a) is a law (in this Articles referred to as 'an existing law') that was enacted or made before 10th July 1973 and has continued to be part of the law of The Bahamas at all times since that day.
Saving clauses, such as contained in Article 17 (2) and the general saving clause contained in Article 30 (a), which were intended to be transitional until law reform removed existing laws inconsistent with the Constitution, are sometimes used to limit the enforcement of personal liberties granted by the Constitution.
Chief Justice Telford Georges, in an essay entitled "The Scope and Limitations of the State Machinery" in Human Rights and Development (1978) at page 45, argued, with respect to a similar clause in the Constitution of Trinidad & Tobago, that such clauses "... considerably limits the scope of the machinery of judicial review as a method of enforcement of the rights apparently enshrined in the Constitution. The judicial view... is that the constitutions create no new rights. They merely preserve existing rights."
Article 30 (a) is construed as saving Section 312 of the Penal Code that pronounces that the death penalty is the punishment for murder as being compatible with and not in contravention of any of the fundament rights and freedoms contained in Articles 15 to 27. Until 2011 the mandatory sentence of death by hanging was applied upon the conviction of murder and treason.
However, the Privy Council, informed by the evolving jurisprudence in Europe, has forced the Commonwealth Caribbean to conform to the evolving standard of human decency and human rights in the application of the death penalty. In 1993 the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, in the case Pratt and Another v. Attorney General of Jamaica (1993), held that the execution of the death penalty after five years was unconscionable delay and would constitute a contravention of Article 17 (1) of the Constitution, except where the delay had been the fault of the accused.
This ruling resulted in scores of condemned prisoners in The Bahamas having their death sentences commuted to life imprisonment due to delay. In 2000 the Privy Council, in Neville Lewis, overturned Reckley v. Minister of Public Safety and Immigration (1996) and held that (a) a condemned prisoner has a right to the secure protection of the law and to due process which would be denied if he were to be executed before the completion of a hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; (b) that a condemned prisoner who applied for mercy had a due process right to know what material had been placed before the Prerogative Committee on Mercy and be afforded the right to make representations and know the reasons for the decision of which the process is subject to judicial review; and (c) that the passage of time and their treatment in prison may constitute inhuman or degrading treatment.
In Henfield and Ricardo Farrington v. A.G. of The Bahamas, the Privy Council reduced the period by which The Bahamas must execute a condemned prisoner from five years to three and a half years due to an oversight that The Bahamas is a party to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The five-year rule was subsequently reinstated. The Privy Council, in Forrester Bowe, Jr. and Trono Davis v. The Queen (2006), held that section 312 of the Penal Code Act that declares the mandatory sentence of death for the conviction of murder "should be construed as imposing a discretionary and not a mandatory sentence to death". Consequently, the mandatory sentences of death imposed on Forrester Bowe, Jr. and Trono Davis were quashed and the cases were remitted to the Supreme Court for consideration of appropriate sentences.
In light of the Privy Council's ruling in Forrester Bowe, Jr., the Parliament of The Bahamas amended the Penal Code Act in 2011, by removing the mandatory sentence of death for the conviction murder and setting out the circumstances that will attract the death penalty of a person convicted for murder, such as the murder of a member of the police force, a prison officer, a member of the defence force, a judicial officer, a witness, a juror, the murder of a person during the course of a felony or the murder of more than one person.
Trends in thinking
The trend in judicial reasoning by the Privy Council, informed by the evolving standard of human rights and human decency, will eventually lead, in my opinion, to a judicial finding that the death penalty is contrary to human rights and human decency. The reaction in The Bahamas and the wider Commonwealth Caribbean to this trend has been a desperate effort to retain the death penalty. In this context, some advocates have proposed delinking The Bahamas from the Privy Council as the final appellate court for The Bahamas in favor of either the establishment of final appellate court in The Bahamas or by accepting the compulsory original jurisdiction of the Caribbean Court of Justice. The Bahamian society, on reflection, must determine whether the death penalty is a deterrent to crime or cold-blooded killing by the state, which brutalizes the offender and the society. When the state kills does it lessen its offensiveness and elevate killing into principle? If the justification is the principle of "an eye for an eye", should we not also advocate that rape be undertaken by the state as a punishment for rape?
Chief Justice Gubbay of the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe, in the case Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe v. Attorney General and Others (1993), argued that retribution is not a sound rationale for the death penalty as follows: "Because retribution has no place in the scheme of civilized jurisprudence, one cannot turn a deaf ear to the plea made for the enforcement of constitutional rights. Humaneness and dignity of the individual are the hallmarks of civilized laws. Justice must be done dispassionately and in accordance with constitutional mandates. The question is not whether this court condones the evils committed by the four condemned prisoners, for certainly it does not. It is whether the acute mental suffering and brooding horror of being hanged which has haunted them in their condemned cells over the long lapse of time since the passing of sentence of death, is consistent with the guarantee against inhuman, or degrading punishment or treatment."
The European Court of Human Rights in the case Soering v. the United Kingdom (1989) abolished the death penalty in the European Union. Similarly, South Africa, Australia, India, New Zealand, Namibia, The Gambia, for example, have also abolished the death penalty. In the United States, 18 states have abolished the death penalty.
In The Bahamas, without an adequate public defender's system, there is a significant risk that innocent persons may be wrongly convicted for murder, since most defendants in capital cases tend to be poor African-Bahamian men, sometimes with mental problems and background of abuse. There needs to be a more disciplined focus on the causes of crime in The Bahamas and the comparative deterrence of the death penalty in relation to life imprisonment.
Recommendation
1. The government should commission The College of the Bahamas and the Eugene Dupuch Law School to conduct a scientific study to determine the comparative deterrence between the death penalty and life imprisonment to inform public education and policy on the issue of the death penalty.
2. The law reform commissioner should be directed to conduct a comprehensive review of all "existing laws" that may be saved under the "existing law provisions" of the Constitution and recommend amendments to ensure consistency of all laws with the Constitution.
o Alfred Sears is an attorney, a former member of Parliament and a former attorney general of The Bahamas.

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News Article

October 08, 2012
New Providence Police Investigate Infant's Death - Suspects To Be Arraigned In Court Today

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...

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Business Listing

Coral Courts Apartments
Apartments & Condominiums
  • Coral Courts
  • Freeport
  • Grand Bahama, Bahamas
News Article

April 11, 2011
Urban Renewal puts young men on the basketball court

NASSAU, The Bahamas - Community youth were drawn by the hundreds and encouraged to compete with each other on the basketball court, rather than criminal court.
Young men between the ages of 16 to 21 represented basketball teams from all nine centres in New Providence, as well as other areas, and competed at Englerston Park, Christie Park and Pinewood Park from dusk until late into the night.
"The objective of the whole thing is to get the young men to get to know each other from the different areas and to compete among each other, but to do it in a healthy environment and learn how to get along with each other through the sport of basketball," said Ella Lewis, New Providence Urban Renewal Coordinator.
"It's been extremely successful and every night the court is filled.  We were wondering and see this is definitely the way to go in reaching the young men because they will come out to this.  We have more than 300 people on the court both watching the game and participating.  They are coming from all the different areas."
From March 30 to April 3, Urban Renewal Community Programme's nine centres held an Inter-Urban Basketball Jamboree, under the theme "You're My Brother".  A spirit of community empowerment attracted thousands of spectators across New Providence communities for five days to watch teams play against each other for championship trophies from Englerston, Farm Road, Yellow Elder, Pinewood, Nassau Village, Bain & Grants Town, Elizabeth Estates, Flamingo Gardens, Fox Hill, Fort Charlotte, Kemp Road, and St. Cecilia.

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News Article

September 08, 2011
International Criminal Court Election Nomination Period Extended to 16 September

New York/The
Hague--The Coalition for the International Criminal Court--a global
network of more than 2,500 non-governmental and civil society
organizations in 150 countries--today urged states to use the extended
nomination period for the upcoming International Criminal Court (ICC)
elections to continue to identify the most highly-qualified candidates
for the available positions. States parties to the Rome Statute--the
ICC's founding treaty--now have until 16 September 2011 to nominate
candidates for six judicial vacancies. The election, together with that
of the Prosecutor and six members of the Committee on Budget and
Finance, scheduled to take place at the tenth session of Assembly of
States Parties (ASP) in December 2011, represents the most significant
changeover in ICC officials since the creation of the Court...

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News Article

September 19, 2013
Sir Lynden's and the PLP's entitled imperial court

During the 2012 general election, Sir Lynden Pindling's widow took to the political stage as a part of the PLP's strategy to use the late prime minister's legacy to help the party secure victory. It is debatable how successful was the strategy...

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News Article

July 27, 2010
(VIDEO) - Supreme Court fee structure simplified

Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham tabled Amendment Bills in
Parliament Monday, July 26th, 2010 which would change the fee structure for matters
before the Supreme Court.

Instead of lawyers having to make out multiple cheques for small
amounts to process matters before the Court, each matter will now
require the payment of a single fee.

This is expected to make the processing of matters before the Court quicker and more efficient.

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News Article
Court upholds ruling in favor of Muslim RBDF marine
July 24, 2014
Court upholds ruling in favor of Muslim RBDF marine

The Court of Appeal yesterday upheld a ruling by Chief Justice Sir Michael Barnett...

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News Article

March 28, 2014
UBS (Bahamas) denied chance to take 34.2 million claim case to Privy Council

The Court of Appeal has ruled against an attempt by UBS (Bahamas) to appeal a decision of the court to the Privy Council in London saying the case at hand is not one of general public importance.
UBS had sought leave to appeal to the Privy Council the Court of Appeal's ruling from July 31, 2013, in which it ruled in favor of Standard Chartered Bank (Switzerland) in a matter relating to a $34.2 million claim by Standard Chartered Bank on UBS (Bahamas).
In that ruling, reviewing a decision of the chief justice which had struck out the Standard Chartered's claim, Justices Anita Allen, Christopher Blackman and Neville Adderley sent the case back to the Supreme Court for retrial.
The judges said at the time that the chief justice's ruling on the matter was "unsafe", and based on "incomplete evidence".
However, UBS (Bahamas) had, according to the most recent ruling from the Court of Appeal, sought to challenge its decision to send the matter back for a re-trial on numerous grounds that "for the most part, revolve around this court's purported failure to consider and make a determination on the facts, and its purported failure to apply the relevant law."
In response, the Court of Appeal held that the issue at hand is not "one of general public importance" and they will only be "properly answered" if the retrial that was initially ordered by the Court goes ahead.
"We believe it would be premature to send the matter to the Privy Council when all of the facts have not been established," said Justices Anita Allen, Stanley John, and Abudulai Conteh.
_The case revolves around a number of shares held as collateral for a loan by UBS (Bahamas) which the Bahamas office of the Swiss bank had agreed to transfer to Standard Chartered Bank (Switzerland), according to court documents.
The shares were beneficially owned by a mutual customer of the two banks, CIF, in 2008, who owed UBS (Bahamas) "in excess of $30 million".
According to the Court of Appeal judgment on the matter, an agreement to transfer the shares from UBS (Bahamas) to Standard Chartered (Switzerland) took place via the SWIFT messaging system in November 2008, after CIF obtained a loan from Standard Chartered Bank to pay its debt to UBS (Bahamas).
The two banks agreed to transfer the shares to Standard Chartered (Switzerland) once the Swiss bank sent $34.2 million - the amount of its loan to CIF to cover its UBS debt - to UBS.
On November 12, 2008, Standard Chartered (Switzerland) transferred the funds to UBS (Bahamas) and UBS (Bahamas) began initiating the process of transferring the shares - comprising 98,068 shares in Kingate Global Fund Limited and 36,356.58 shares in Thema Fund Limited.
However, in the meantime, the Bernie Madoff fraud led to a collapse in the value of the shares and a suspension of trading in them.
"The value of the shares collapsed as a result of the well-publicized Bernie Madoff fraud. On the 12th of December, 2008, before the shares were transferred, trading in the shares were suspended and this action was commenced on the basis that the shares could no longer be transferred," said the judgment on Standard Chartered's appeal against the chief justice's ruling.
"The plaintiff (Standard Chartered) had requested the return of the $34.2 million on the grounds that as the shares had not been and could no longer be transferred to it, the condition for payment had not been satisfied and therefore the plaintiff said it was entitled to the return of its money."
Standard Chartered (Switzerland) asserted that since the shares were not transferred following its transferral of $34.2 million to UBS, the "consideration for the payment under the contract had wholly failed".
However, UBS said that "it had performed all that was required of it under the contract".

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News Article

November 14, 2010
Senior Justice Anita Allen to head Court of Appeal

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 ...

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Business Listing

Baycourt Chambers
Attorneys/Lawyers
  • Third Floor, Frederick House, Frederick Street
  • Nassau
  • Nassau / Paradise Island, Bahamas
News Article

August 05, 2012
Global Coalition Calls on Nepal to Join the International Criminal Court

Civil Society Says Accession to the Rome Statute Will Pave the Way for the Establishment of a Culture of Peace and Justice

New
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
founding treaty.

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Real Estate
23 Clacton Court
  • $ 55,000
  • Vacant Land
  • Grand Bahama, Bahamas
  • Lot Area : 17040 sqft

HG Christie Real Estate   All properties of this realtor


News Article

February 07, 2014
2m drugs case: Man faces court

A MAN awaiting trial in connection with the $2 million drug seizure that occurred near a graveyard in Grand Bahama appeared in Supreme Court yesterday seeking bail.

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News Article
Constitutional Reform, Pt. 5
September 20, 2012
Constitutional Reform, Pt. 5

For the average person in The Bahamas, the most important part of the constitution is chapter III, which deals with the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms of "every person in The Bahamas".

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Real Estate
10 Allamanda Court
  • $ 135,000
  • Condominium
  • Grand Bahama, Bahamas
  • Bedrooms : 2
  • Bathrooms : 2.00
  • Living Area : 1300 sqft
  • Lot Area : 1 acres

HG Christie Real Estate   All properties of this realtor


Real Estate
120 Camelford Court
  • $ 10,000
  • Vacant Land
  • Grand Bahama, Bahamas
  • Lot Area : 10000 sqft

HG Christie Real Estate   All properties of this realtor


News Article

August 16, 2011
Court throws out 'Hollywood' case, citing jurisdiction

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.

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News Article

January 08, 2014
Minnis to bring death penalty bill

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.

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News Article

June 20, 2011
The Privy Council debate

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.

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News Article

July 23, 2014
Woman wins damages from Kerzner International

The Bahamas Court of Appeal has allowed the appeal of a woman seeking damages against Kerzner International Bahamas Ltd. and Island Hotel Company Ltd. (IHC) for a workplace injury.
Justice Anita Allen, president of the Court of Appeal, delivered the judgment concerning the October 2, 2013 decision in the Supreme Court, which had found the hotel entities not responsible for an on-the-job injury suffered by Bimini Road Restaurant employee Patrice McKenzie.
In her judgment for the appeal, Allen stated: "We allow the appeal, set aside the judgment of the learned judge and enter judgment for the appellant on liability, with damages to be assessed by the Supreme Court."
McKenzie claimed damages, interest and costs with respect to personal injuries suffered as a result of a slip and fall on a wet floor in the kitchen of the Bimini Road Restaurant, part of Paradise Island's Marina Village. The incident occurred on July 20, 2006.
The fall resulted in injuries to McKenzie's right knee, right elbow, lower back and left ankle. The original suit further claimed that upon the injury to McKenzie's knee, her knee collapsed on September 8, 2006, causing her to fall and to fracture her left ankle.
The original lawsuit claimed that IHC, "failed to ensure the safety of that area" or take adequate measures "to prevent such levels of water and grease on its floor as would endanger its employees".
The defendants held that the accident was "wholly or alternatively contributed to by reason of the negligence of [McKenzie]", who they claimed failed to adequately assess the conditions of her workspace.
Several witnesses, including the restaurant's manager, claimed that the area of the restaurant kitchen where the incident took place was frequently wet and the mats provided were insufficient to prevent slipping.
Justice Milton Evans delivered the original ruling in the companies' favor, stating that while he did not share their view that McKenzie contributed to her accident, he did not feel that the defendants were "negligent in their efforts to safeguard the premises".
"It has to be recognized that there are inherent dangers in certain work places and that, notwithstanding best efforts, accidents will occur," said Evans.
Evans cited the 1991 Sturrup vs. Resorts International (Bahamas) ruling as a precedent, which claimed that "each person, even while performing [their] duty as an employee, has to assume a measure of responsibility for [their] own safety".
Allen's oral judgment was delivered on July 14. No reasons for allowing the appeal or figures for the damages have yet been provided.
Sharon Wilson of Sharon Wilson & Co. represented McKenzie, while Lakeisha Strachan of Harry B. Sands, Lobosky and Company acted as the counsel for the respondents.

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Real Estate
300 Jansel Court, Freeport
  • $ 120,000
  • Condominium
  • Grand Bahama, Bahamas
  • Bedrooms : 2
  • Bathrooms : 2.00
  • Living Area : 900 sqft
  • Lot Area : 1000 sqft

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News Article

May 19, 2014
Bar assoc. head urges legal action against relay restrictions

An edict from a senior policeman banning ex-convicts and suspects wearing ankle bracelets from the world relays this weekend could cost the government a lot of money, according to Bar Association President Elsworth Johnson.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Leon Bethell made the pronouncement when announcing security arrangements for the race.
"Persons who wear ankle bracelets, those persons known to be gang members and those persons with the propensity to commit crime or cause mischief will not be allowed into the stadium," Bethell said.
The Nassau Guardian
contacted Bethell on Sunday to ask him what was the legal basis for the decision.
Bethell, who is also a lawyer, did not state any statutory provision that gave police the authority to impose additional sanctions on suspects on bail without the approval of the court.
"We're trying to save this country," he said.
"Persons who feel that they are aggrieved can take us to court, and we can say that we had information. You don't have the information that we have.
"We are going to police the stadium. If something goes wrong, you are going to be critical of your police force.
"The world will be on us, and while the world is watching The Bahamas, we cannot allow the criminal element to destroy our country."
According to Bethell's criteria for admission to the stadium, businessman Craig Flowers, who was convicted of allowing his premises to be used for a lottery; Bishop Randy Fraser, who was convicted of abusing his position of trust by having sex with a church member he was counseling and Carlos Lamm, a drug convict and former campaign general for Education Minister Jerome Fitzgerald, would not be allowed into the stadium.
Johnson has urged people who fall into this subset to get a declaration from the Supreme Court alleging that their constitutional rights would likely be violated.
"We are a country of laws," the Bar Association president said.
"If one institution should be seen to be following the laws it is the police. These persons have constitutional right of movement. Only the court could restrict their movements.
"I don't agree that these persons should not be allowed to a public event at a public facility. That doesn't make any sense. This is not a police state."
Johnson said police should act on reasonable suspicion, not a just a hunch.
"It would be foolhardy for the police, without any good reason, to refuse to allow these persons into the stadium without reasonable cause because they will cost the government a lot of money that the government can ill afford to spend," he said.
Johnson said the police have the lawyers at the Office of the Attorney General at their disposal, if they had any doubts about the legality of their actions.

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News Article
Mrs Claire Hepburn appointed Justice of the Supreme Court
August 15, 2008
Mrs Claire Hepburn appointed Justice of the Supreme Court

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”.

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Real Estate
15 Mundon Court
  • $ 39,600
  • Vacant Land
  • Grand Bahama, Bahamas
  • Lot Area : 18584 sqft

HG Christie Real Estate   All properties of this realtor