Director of Public Prosecutions v Nasralla: PC 1967

(Jamaica) The constitution provided that no person tried for a criminal offence and either convicted or acquitted should again be tried for that offence. It was asked whether this was to be treated as declaring the common law or as expressing the law on the subject differently.
Held: ‘All the judges below have treated [section 20(8)] as declaring or intended to declare the common law on the subject. Their Lordships agree. It is unnecessary to resort to implication for this intendment, since the Constitution itself expressly ensures it. Whereas the general rule, as is to be expected in a Constitution and is here embodied in section 2, is that the provisions of the Constitution should prevail over other law, an exception is made in Chapter III. This chapter, as their lordships have already noted, proceeds upon the presumption that the fundamental rights which it covers are already secured to the people of Jamaica by existing law. The laws in force are not to be subjected to scrutiny in order to see whether or not they conform to the precise terms of the protective provisions. The object of these provisions is to ensure that no future enactment shall in any matter which the chapter covers derogate from the rights which at the coming into force of the Constitution the individual enjoyed. Accordingly section 26(8) in Chapter III provides as follows . . ‘


Lord Devlin


[1967] 2 AC 238, (1967) 2 All ER 161


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedWatson v Regina PC 7-Jul-2004
(Jamaica) The defendant was convicted of two murders from the same incident. The Act provided for the death penalty if he was convicted of a second murder. He appealed the death sentence in the circumstances, and said also that it was . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 16 May 2022; Ref: scu.198648