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Jan 16, 2015

CCJ President Byron on Death Penalty

Dennis Byron

This afternoon, Sir Dennis Byron, President of the Caribbean Court of Justice, was a guest at our studios for an in depth interview on the work of the CCJ; that interview will be aired this Monday on Open Your Eyes. We don’t normally have the opportunity to sit with justices, so today’s interview was detailed. But earlier, Sir Byron delivered the keynote address at the 2015 Law Conference hosted by the Bar Association of Belize. The Justice, who has had a brilliant and outstanding legal career, is here at the invitation of the Bar Association. He arrived in the country on Thursday and met in private sessions with Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin and Justice Manuel Sosa, President of the Court of Appeal.  This morning, he also paid a courtesy call on Governor General, Sir Colville Young.  Prior to the daylong conference, Sir Byron took questions from the media.  While questions about local matters presently before the CCJ such as the nationalizations of B.T.L. and B.E.L. were not touched, the media was granted leave to follow up on a range of other issues, including the death penalty.  When Belize ascribed to the court of final appeal five years ago, the general impression was that the CCJ would replace the Privy Council as the jurisdiction with the last word on capital punishment.  Such has not been the case.


Sir Dennis Byron, President, Caribbean Court of Justice

“We have had one case which has come before the court where the death penalty has been the issue for decision.  I don’t know if you are familiar with that case, it is a case from Barbados where after the judicial process had been exhausted, and that case involves the Privy Council incidentally, the person who was on the sentence had appealed to the Inter-American courts for relief and the Barbados government was concerned about the delay in getting a judgment and had taken a decision to execute without waiting for a decision on the matter and that matter came before the court and the court expressed its position with regard to the correct legal principles that ought to be applied in cases like that.  In that particular case the court, I think, was regarded as breaking new ground because Barbados was part of the Inter-American convention to a certain extent which… and by allowing the proceedings to go before the convention the litigant, the sentenced person was given the legitimate expectation that the government would allow his case to proceed to conclusion.  And the court ruled and the government could not proceed without waiting for the judicial process to run its legitimate course.  Jurisprudence was developed on the concept of the requirement to respect the legitimate expectation of persons in our judicial system.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “CCJ President Byron on Death Penalty”

  1. Malcolm says:

    Huh? I read this twice. Does it mean he’s for the death penalty, against, or couldn’t care less?

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