After decades of campaigning, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), following a majority vote has ruled that the mandatory death penalty in Barbados is unconstitutional.
The decision was reached after two appeals were sent to the CCJ regarding the fate of convicted murderers Jabari Sensimania Nervais and Dwayne Omar Severin. The cases were otherwise unrelated. However, both of them challenged the automatic (mandatory) death sentence imposed upon convicted murderers.
The court stated that a section of the 'Offences Against the Person Act' was unconstitutional because it provided for a mandatory sentence of death. “It was indisputable that the nation, through its actions, had acknowledged that it had an obligation to remove such mandatory sentence under section 2 of that Act,” the judgment summary said. The court also noted that Barbados had also given undertakings to the CCJ and the Inter American Court of Human Rights to rectify the mandatory sentence which was reflected in the Barbados Privy Council's consistent commutation of the mandatory death penalty.
Justice Winston Anderson, however, opposed the majority and said that removing the mandatory sentence would jeopardise the judicial powers.
Compiled by Law Desk (SOURCE: jamaicaobserver.com)