[Deathpenalty]death penalty news --- worldwide
j_sommer at gmx.net
Sat Jul 17 10:01:15 CDT 2004
death penalty news
July 17, 2004
Restrain the jubilation
THE Attorney-General may be gratified by the decision of the Judicial
Committee of the Privy Council just handed down. The decision indeed
confirms the integrity of Barbados' sovereignty, and its parliamentary
A careful study, however, of the Privy Council's decision would restrain
our jubilation. It is curious that the Privy Council in upholding the
integrity of our constitution and sovereignty, refrained from ruling any
amendment to our constitution.
Indeed the Privy Council's ruling is in keeping with our constitution that
inhumane and degrading punishment is unconstitutional, and therefore
invalid (S15 of the Constitution). For the Privy Council in its judgement
indicated that capital punishment is inhuman and degrading punishment.
That Barbados has on its Statute Book that capital punishment is mandatory
would suggest that Barbados does not regard capital punishment to be
inhuman and degrading punishment. But here is the rub. Even if Barbados
regards capital punishment inhuman and degrading, the punishment would
still be mandatory. This inconsistency arises as a result of S26 of the
Constitution. S26 provides that any existing legislation at Independence in
1966, in conflict with subsequent legislation, the former legislation
should prevail. Hence capital punishment was mandatory before 1966 remains
Why then did the Barbados government take the issue of mandatory
enforceability to the Privy Council? Barbados wished to be assured that its
Constitution would not have to comply with recent rulings of the Privy
Council that capital punishment is not mandatory. Without the assurance of
the Privy Council Barbados would have to amend its Constitution. Thus
making punishment for murder not mandatory.
The Privy Council's response is interesting. The Privy Council in general
terms said: 'We uphold the integrity of the Barbados Constitution; we will
not interfere. Our ruling in law is bound by the clear provision of S26
which renders capital punishment mandatory. It is for Barbados to amend its
own Constitution'. It should indeed be noted that the Privy Council in its
judgement declared capital punishment inhuman and degrading.
Barbados, moreover, is a signatory to International Conventions which
declare capital punishment inhuman and degrading. Barbados should take the
subtle hint of the Privy Council that capital punishment is inhuman and
degrading, and should therefore be abolished. To amend the Barbados
Constitution with respect to capital punishment, S26 of the Constitution
would have to be repealed. Thus giving consistency to our Constitution.
S26 in fact shackles our Constitution with legislation enacted in a
colonial era before Independence in 1966. The Privy Council may have been
silently amused to learn that S26 of the Barbados Constitution is still
effective after 38 years of Independence.
(source: Barbados Advocate)
New Zealanders Review Parole, Death Penalty
Many New Zealanders believe the country's judicial regulations should be
amended, according to a poll by Colmar Brunton released by One News. 58 per
cent of respondents want to implement stricter parole laws, and 28 per cent
of respondents would scrap the possibility of early release altogether.
In New Zealand, convicted persons must serve half their sentence in jail
before becoming eligible for parole. The opposition National party has
proposed changes to existing regulations, which include banning early
release for violent and repeat offenders.
The death penalty was abolished in 1961. Current justice minister Phil Goff
of the Labour party openly disagrees with the practice. 67 per cent of
respondents would not bring back capital punishment.
What is your opinion on New Zealand's parole laws?
Parole laws should be abolished 28%
Parole laws should be stricter 58%
Parole laws are fine as they are now 13%
Do you think New Zealand should bring back the death penalty?
Don't know 5%
Source: Colmar Brunton / One News
Methodology: Telephone interviews to 1,000 New Zealand voters, conducted
from Jul. 5 to Jul. 8, 2004. Margin of error is 3.2 per cent.
(source: Centre for Public Opinion and Democracy)
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