Browne v The Queen: PC 6 May 1999

(St Christopher and Nevis) The appellant had been convicted of murder whilst still a youth. He had accordingly been sentenced to be detained ‘during [the Governor-General’s] pleasure; and if so sentenced he shall be liable to be detained in such place and under such conditions as the Administrator in Council may direct and, while so detained, be deemed to be in legal custody.’
Held: It was inconsistent with the doctrine of the separation of powers, that a person sentenced to be detained during the Governor General’s pleasure, should have the length of sentence decided by the Governor, who is part of the executive not the judiciary. The term ‘during pleasure’ is to be ‘not a once and for all assessment that is made at the time that the defendant is first before the court after his conviction.’ The unconstitutionality could be repaired by ensuring that the decision was made by a court.
Lord Slynn of Hadley, Lord Mackay of Clashfern, Lord Clyde, Lord Hobhouse of Woodborough, Sir Patrick Russell
Times 11-May-1999, [1999] UKPC 21, [2000] 1 AC 45
Bailii, PC
Commonwealth
Citing:
CitedHinds and other v The Queen; Director of Public Prosecutions v Jackson, attorney General of Jamaica (Intervenor) PC 1-Dec-1975
The Gun Court Act 1974 of Jamaica established special courts at different levels to deal with varieties of crimes involving guns. There was provision for hearings to be held in camera. Certain offences carried mandatory life sentences reviewable . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State For The Home Department, Ex Parte Venables, Regina v Secretary of State For The Home Department, Ex Parte Thompson HL 12-Jun-1997
A sentence of detention during her majesty’s pleasure when imposed on a youth was not the same as a sentence of life imprisonment, and the Home Secretary was wrong to treat it on the same basis and to make allowance for expressions of public . .
CitedVasquez v The Queen; O’Neil v The Queen PC 26-Oct-1994
(Belize) The burden of proof on provocation in a murder case remained with the prosecution despite the constitution. The Belize Criminal Code imposed no more than an evidential burden on the accused: ‘In their Lordships’ view section 116(a) of the . .
CitedHussain v The United Kingdom ECHR 21-Feb-1996
The determination of a life sentence by the Home Secretary without recourse to a court was unlawful. There had been a violation of article 5(4) because the applicant who had been detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure was unable, after the expiry of his . .

Cited by:
CitedRegina on the Application of Smith v The Secretary of State for the Home Department Admn 3-Apr-2003
The case asked what duty the respondent had, in respect of youths sentenced to be detained during Her Majesty’s Pleasure before 30th November 2000, to review their continued detention at regular intervals. A statement said that once a tarriff had . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 30 March 2021; Ref: scu.159353