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Jan 16, 2015

Bar Seeking Assistance in Expediting Cases

Eamon Courtenay

The issue of inmates who have been condemned and are awaiting execution at the Belize Central Prison remains a concern for human rights activists.  In the bar association there is a handful of attorneys who work tirelessly on a pro bono basis to represent prisoners who have been found guilty of capital crimes.  While the transition from the Privy Council to the Caribbean Court of Justice has led many to believe that the final appellate court would uphold the death sentence, Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay says that human rights attorneys in England have expressed a willingness to assist in preparing arguments in the CCJ.

 

Eamon Courtenay, President, Belize Bar Association

“A small number of us in the association who have a serious concern about this matter are looking at it in an informal way to see how this issue can be resolved.  In fact, I can say that the Death Penalty Project has already indicated to us that they are prepared to continue to play the role in terms of preparing the arguments, preparing the papers that are necessary, sending it to us and then having us file it and hopefully find someone who is prepared to argue it before the CCJ on a pro bono basis.  So it’s a matter of serious concern to the profession and we are looking at it, you know, even at the level of the Court of Appeal.  It’s a serious problem that frustrates the hearing of criminal appeals that come and are listed but the litigants don’t have attorneys.  It’s something that I know a number of us have offered our services so it’s a matter of organizing it and we hope that we can see some positive developments in that area.”

 

According to Courtenay, the law conference discussed the matter of anonymous accusers, who are being allowed to testify remotely. 

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