Law in the News ( January 26 – February 1)

A weekly digest of legal news under the following headings : –

Decided Cases

Before the Courts

Debated Bills/Legislation

Developments in the Profession

Law and Society

Opinion

Beyond Our Shores

Decided Cases

 

Jurors Banned For Life

Justice Albert Redhead, on Wednesday, placed a lifelong ban on 10 jurors accused of delivering a “perverse” verdict.

 

St. Kitts-Nevis Elections Set For February 16; Boundaries Injunction Discharged

Meanwhile, the court injunction granted on January 16 to opposition MPs against the proclamation of new boundary changes into law has been discharged.

In delivering her ruling on Tuesday, Justice Marlene Carter said the governor general’s proclamation of the changes does not rely on the gazette announcing the changes being made available to the public.

On the heels of the decision Senior Counsel Douglas Mendes has asked for judicial review of the St Kitts and Nevis Boundaries Commission report.

Court sides with NCB, denies access to joint account

The Court of Appeal has dismissed a case brought against National Commercial Bank Jamaica (NCB) for refusing a customer access to funds in a joint account she held with her aunt, following the latter’s death.

The decision can be found here.

Bank wins in Cash Plus appeal

A local financial institution scored a major victory last week when the Court of Appeal overturned a Supreme Court order for it to pay US$70,000 with interest to one of its customers who claimed she was given bad advice by one of its employees to invest in the failed investment scheme, Cash Plus Ltd.

The decision can be found here.

Former acting RM, three others freed of breaches under Law Reform Fraudulent Transaction Act

Former acting Resident Magistrate Dionne Meyler – Reid and her three co-accused were freed of charges under the Law Reform Fraudulent Transaction (Special Provisions Act 2013) in the Savanna-la-Mar RM Court on Friday last.

Before the Courts

 

Bain v The University of the West Indies

The final week of the case was dominated by legal submissions. The Attorney General’s Chambers, which is involved because of the constitutional issues in the case, submitted that the court need not examine whether UWI breached Bain’s right to a fair hearing but also indicated that UWI had an obligation to uphold Bain’s right to freedom of expression, freedom of thought, and of conscience. Predictably attorneys for the UWI and Bain implored the court to find in their respective favour with Bain claiming $50 million in damages. The Constitutional Court has indicated it will hand down its decision without delay.

 

UTech vows to fight Foote

The University of Technology, Jamaica(UTech) has vowed to challenge the latest lawsuit filed against it by Duke St John Paul Foote who asserts the university is blocking him from taking some law courses.

Lawyers push lawsuit against UN for Haiti cholera outbreak

Human Rights lawyers in New York are preparing to file an appeal against a decision by a US judge to dismiss a class action lawsuit against the United Nations for its alleged role in causing the cholera outbreak in Haiti.

Debated Bills/Legislation

 

Belize may be nearing “ganja” law amendments

Two and a half years ago, our newspaper reported that the Government had established a multi-sectoral committee tasked with reviewing proposals for the decriminalization of small quantities of marijuana, also known as “ganga” or “weed,” with a view of introducing alternative penalties which would mean that casual users do not end up having a criminal record and do not have to spend time behind bars.

US official cautions Jamaica on ganja legislation

The United States Government has signalled some discomfort with Jamaica’s move to decriminalise marijuana for specific uses.

According to assistant secretary of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), William R Brownfield, there is a possibility that the move could increase inflows of marijuana from Jamaica that now accounts for 80 per cent of ganja illegally smuggled into that country.

Barbados takes steps to abolish mandatory death penalty

Barbados has begun taking steps to abolish mandatory death penalty sentences under proposed amendments to the Offences Against the Person Act. This is in keeping with the ruling of the Inter American Court on Human Rights following the landmark decision of Boyce et al v Barbados which ruled mandatory death sentences violated the right to life as such sentences were arbitrary and failed to limit the application of the death penalty to the most serious crimes.

Views on these changes can be found in this editorial. Jeff Cumberbatch has also weighed in on the issue.

Developments in the Profession

 

Dominica to become fourth full member of CCJ

Dominica will become the fourth full member of the Caribbean Court of Justice early next month, replacing the Privy Council as its final court.

CCJ President Sir Dennis Byron lauded the historic move of the island, an Eastern Caribbean State in joining the CCJ.

Trinidad AG under police probe

The Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago, Anand Ramlogan is under police probe for allegations of witness tampering. He denies these allegations. As a result of the controversy four lawyers have been tipped to replace the AG and Prime Minister Kamla Persad – Bissessar is expected to make an announcement on this on February 2nd 2015.

 

Attorneys in Bermuda stage walkout

Last week a number of prominent attorneys in Bermuda staged a walkout at a special sitting of the Supreme Court in protest at the reappointment of Rory Field as Director of Public Prosecutions.

Law and Society

Cayman police commissioner wants island to follow Jamaica’s ganja decriminalization steps

Cayman Island’s Commissioner of Police, David Baines declared that he wished to see the Cayman Islands follow Jamaica’s example in decriminalizing the use and possession of small quantities of marijuana.

One-on-One Interview with Jamaica’s Chief Justice

The Jamaica Gleaner asked Chief Justice McCalla a few questions about her job and the judiciary.

Court reporters needed

The inability of the justice system to attract more persons to the job of court reporter is being pointed out as one of the factors that put the brakes on the wheels of justice.

Appeals court president ‘tired of complaining’ about lack of judges chambers

President of the Jamaican Court of Appeal, Justice Seymour Panton declared his frustration over the court being severally hampered as a result of the failure of the Government to provide accommodation for three additional judges.

Jamaican judges livid – only politicians to retain automatic right to police bodyguards

Some of the country’s judges yesterday responded with fury after it was announced that they would no longer be automatically assigned bodyguards.

National Security Minister Peter Bunting, who made the announcement in Parliament yesterday, said only the governor general and members of the political directorate would automatically be accorded close-protection officers (CPOs). He said, too, that assignment to other persons and categories of persons would be done based on an assessment of threat levels.

Here is the reaction of Bar Association and Opposition and of the president of the Court of Appeal who described it as silly while Mark Golding assures judges they will be secured. Police Commissioner, Dr Carl Williams, also assured judges that protection for them will still be provided.

LIME-FLOW deal could distort competition in the CSME says CARICOM Commission

CARICOM’s Competition Commission says it has reason to believe that the recent acquisition of FLOW by Cable & Wireless Communications Plc (CWC) has the potential to distort competition within the trading bloc.

T&T Judiciary: we never contacted House speaker

In Trinidad and Tobago, as a result of accusations that the Judiciary contacted a Member of Parliament relating to a lawsuit, Senior Counsel Martin Daly expressed alarm over a combination of developments which involved the Judiciary, the legislature and members of the executive.

We will not be bullied

Jamaica’s delegation to the just-concluded meeting of the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child in Geneva, Switzerland, boldly declared that the country would not be bullied into enacting legislation to prevent the marriages of persons under 18 years.

Opinion

Editorial: Closer look at legal profession in Barbados

We share the minister’s view that our approach over the years has apparently been to respond to individual incidents rather that put measures in place for comprehensive reform that would lead to fewer opportunities for clients to make allegations of wrong-doing.

However Tariq Khan, president of the Barbados Bar Association, has come out in support of the Bar.

Letter: Constitutional Reform: Term Limits in Grenada’s Parliament

The idea of term limits for three consecutive terms with the possibility of returning as prime minister after a break of one tern is a stupid one. I am not aware of any country on Earth where this done. The current crop of leaders should serve out their last term in office and exit the scene in peace.

The CCJ Debate In Jamaica

The Gleaner challenges the reasoning of former Prime Minister Edward Seaga in his views of the court. While letter writers and columnists voice opposition to the court.

CCJ a loud sounding nothing

Beyond Our Shores

French court stops child from being named Nutella

A French court has stopped parents from naming their baby girl Nutella after the hazelnut spread, ruling that it would make her the target of derision.

Canada to criminalize public terror threats

In an announcement by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, he declared that Canada intends to pass new anti terror laws that would make it a crime to encourage terrorism against Canadians. The new laws would allow anyone being suspected of terrorism to be held without charge for up to 7 days. Further, it would make it a crime to call for a terror attack against Canadians generally, which would include making such threats

online.

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