Privy Council ruling in T&T case could strengthen opposition to CCJ - Hylton

Former Solicitor-General Michael Hylton believes Monday's ruling by the Privy Council on a murder case from Trinidad & Tobago could provide ammunition to those who oppose establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as Jamaica's final court.
The London-based Privy Council ruled that the mandatory sentence of  death for murder in Trinidad & Tobago is constitutional, and only Parliament can rewrite the law.
The Privy Council pointed to opposite rulings made by the CCJ in similar cases but said it does not question the outcome of  its decisions.
Mr. Hylton, speaking on Radio Jamaica's Beyond the Headlines, observed that it was likely that the development will feed into the debate on whether Jamaica should establish the CCJ as its final court, and "affect it in, I suspect, in an unfortunate way."
"Those who oppose the change to the CCJ will find ammunition in it to support their cause," he elaborated.
That, he added, would be "unnecessary and innapropriate... because two courts coming to separate decisions on this issue and one being more activist, perhaps, is not in itself a basis to change one's position."
Mr. Hylton noted that the Privy Council was careful in its reference to the rulings from the CCJ, refraining from sayin that the CCJ's judgment was wrong; "they just said we don't think we were wrong."
That, he said, indicated a note of "political caution" on the part of the London based court.
A recent Privy Council ruling on a case from Jamaica also spurred debate on accession to the CCJ's appellate jurisdiction.
In that case the UK law lords said a substantial miscarriage of  justice had occurred in the case of  former police constable, Lescene Edwards.
His attorney, Valerie Neita Robertson, said then that it was a pity her client could not get justice in his own country and said Jamaica should not leave the Privy Council.

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