[Deathpenalty]death penalty news-----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sun Mar 19 21:09:21 CST 2006
Parliament allows death penalty for murders associated with burglary
AMENDMENTS TO the Offences Against the Person Act, which will allow
murders associated with burglary to attract the death penalty were passed
in the Upper House on Friday.
Justice Minister Senator A.J. Nicholson, who piloted the bill, said the
amendments were in response to the Privy Council ruling last year in the
Evon Smith case of July 2000.
"The purpose of this amended legislation is to nullify the effect of that
decision although, of course, the ruling itself, so far as the Appellant
Smith is concerned, will not be affected," he said.
Evon Smith, a Jamaican, was given the death penalty after he broke into
his girlfriend's house and murdered her.
The U.K.-based Privy Council subsequently overturned the court ruling.
But Nicholson said that the Privy Council in its interpretation erred.
"In this case, we are fully satisfied that such legislation is required in
order to restore the intention of this Parliament when the regional
legislation was passed," he said.
"There is no doubt that Parliament intended, when providing for categories
of murder that would attract the death penalty, to include murder
associated with house breaking and burglary."
Nicholson again voiced his dissatisfaction with several rulings made by
the Privy Council in relation to the country carrying out the death
But this criticism did not go unnoticed by the Opposition.
"Madam President, it is unfortunate that the minister took the opportunity
to really enter into what I consider a tirade against the Privy Council
and its judges, and to ascribe motives. I don't think we should go down
that route," said Opposition Senator on Legal Matters, Dorothy
But Senator Nicholson was unrepentant. He said that some judges of the
Privy Council were opposed to the death penalty on humanitarian and other
"I am not ascribing motives, I am just stating a fact. They have said it,
they have written books and articles on the matter, they have given
lectures on the matter," he said.
He accused the Opposition of refusing to acknowledge that the judges of
the Privy Council since the early 90s have taken means to circumscribe
areas so that the death penalty cannot be carried out.
He, however, warned the Opposition that many Jamaicans wish for the death
penalty to be carried out.
"... The vast majority of people in Jamaica wish for the death penalty,
they do, the vast majority. If a law is on the statute books and you don't
carry out the law, it is going to send chaos into the society. That is how
life is," he said.
(source: Jamaica Gleaner)
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