Tuesday, March 14, 2006
The London-based Judicial Committee of the Privy Council has voted to abolish the mandatory death sentence for those convicted of murder in the Bahamas.
London's Privy Council is still the highest court of appeal for most of the countries in the English-speaking Caribbean region. It ruled the mandatory death sentence is in violation of the Bahamian Constitution.
Under Bahamas laws, anyone found guilty of murder is automatically sentenced to death. The cases of at least 28 prisoners currently on death row will now have to be reviewed because of the Privy Council ruling.
In its judgment, the Privy Council stated the mandatory death penalty should have been regarded as inhuman and degrading punishment as early as 1973. That is when the Bahamian Constitution was redrafted following the countrys independence.