Reyes v The Queen: PC 11 Mar 2002

(Belize) The Criminal Code of Belize provided that any murder by shooting was to be treated as Class A Murder, and be subject to the mandatory death penalty. The applicant having been convicted, appealed saying this was inhuman or degrading treatment, and infringed his human rights under the constitution.
Held: The crime of murder embraced a range of offences of widely varying degrees of criminal culpability. Developments in international law recognising the importance of human rights, and the development of independent legal systems against the background of constitutions guaranteeing fundamental rights. This required legislation to be interpreted. Before independence Belize had been subject to the Convention, and it could not be thought that rights had diminished. The preclusion of any judicial consideration of the degree of culpability was in inhuman treatment, and murder by shooting should be treated as a Class B murder, and the courts given discretion. ‘The court has no licence to read its own predilections and moral values into the constitution’.
Lord Bingham of Cornhill Lord Hutton Lord Hobhouse of Woodborough Lord Millett Lord Rodger of Earlsferry
Times 21-Mar-2002, [2002] 2 AC 235, [2002] UKPC 11, [2002] 2 WLR 1034, 12 BHRC 219, [2002] 2 Cr App R 16
PC, Bailii
Constitution of Belize Art 7, Criminal Code of Belize Art 102
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 . .
CitedRajendra Prasad v State of Uttar Pradesh 1979
The court noted the substantial differences in culpability in different murders. . .
CitedMatadeen and others v M G C Pointu and others (Mauritius) PC 18-Feb-1998
It is a well recognised canon of construction that domestic legislation, including the Constitution, should if possible be construed so as to conform to international instruments to which the state is party. Lord Hoffmann said: ‘of course persons . .
CitedYassin v Attorney-General of Guyana (unreported), 30-Aug-1996
(Court of Appeal of Guyana) ‘Add to this the notorious fact that in Guyana for some years as a matter of executive policy the death penalty is only implemented in some, not all, cases of persons convicted of murder, and the ‘sifting out’ of those . .
CitedBachan Singh v State of Punjab 1980
(Supreme Court – India) ‘(a) The normal rule is that the offence of murder shall be punished with the sentence of life imprisonment. The Court can depart from that rule and impose the sentence of death only if there are special reasons for doing so. . .
CitedRegina v Howe etc HL 19-Feb-1986
The defendants appealed against their convictions for murder, saying that their defences of duress had been wrongly disallowed.
Held: Duress is not a defence available on a charge of murder. When a defence of duress is raised, the test is . .
CitedAttorney-General v Momodou Jobe PC 26-Mar-1984
(Gambia) A constitution, and in particular that part of it which protects and entrenches fundamental rights and freedoms to which all persons in the state are to be entitled, is to be given a generous and purposive construction. In the construction . .
CitedMinister of Home Affairs v Fisher PC 1979
Respect must be paid to the language which has been used in a constitutional statute and to the traditions and usages which have given meaning to that language. It is quite consistent with this, and with the recognition that rules of interpretation . .
CitedOng Ah Chuan v The Public Prosecutor PC 1980
(Singapore) It was asked whether the mandatory death sentence for trafficking in more than 15 grammes of heroin was unconstitutional. The appellant submitted that the mandatory nature of the sentence rendered it arbitrary, since it debarred the . .
CitedLincoln Anthony Guerra v Cipriani Baptiste and others (No 2) PC 6-Nov-1995
(Trinidad and Tobago) The execution of a prisoner after a substantial delay of 5 years was a breach of his constitutional rights, constituting cruel and unusual punishment. . .

Cited by:
CitedBerthill Fox v Regina (No 2) PC 11-Mar-2002
(Saint Christopher and Nevis) The appellant had been convicted of murder, for which the penalty was death. He claimed that the sentence was an infringement of his constitutional and human rights. The constitution declared that it prevailed over all . .
AppliedRegina v Hughes PC 11-Mar-2002
(Saint Lucia) Having been convicted of murder, the defendant was made subject to the mandatory death penalty applied under St Lucia law. He appealed successfully on the basis that the constitution of St Lucia protected him from inhuman or degrading . .
CitedPilar Aida Rojas v Brian Berllaque PC 10-Nov-2003
PC (Gibraltar) The system of selecting a criminal jury obliged men to be available for selection, but women could choose not to be on the role of jurors. The result was that jury lists and juries were almost . .
CitedBalkissoon Roodal v The State PC 20-Nov-2003
(Trinidad and Tobago) The appellant challenged the automatic death sentence imposed upon him for murder.
Held: There were conflicting constitutional provisions. Following Fisher, in the context of issues of capital sentences a wider view was . .
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 . .
CitedMatthew vThe State PC 7-Jul-2004
(Trinidad and Tobago) The court questioned the constitutionality of the mandatory death penalty in Trinidad.
Held: The constitution of Trinidad, when implemented, forbade cruel and unusual punishment, but also preserved existing penalties. The . .
CitedBally Sheng Balson v The State PC 2-Feb-2005
PC (Dominica) The appellant had been convicted of the murder of his partner and appealed the conviction.
Held: The case did not fall within the case of Anderson, and counsel’s failure was not such as to . .
CitedMarshall and Others v Deputy Governor of Bermuda and Others PC 24-May-2010
(Bermuda) The claimants challenged their recruitment by conscription to the Bermuda Regiment on several different grounds. The issues now were whether conscription was lawful only where volunters were insufficient, and whether the acceptance of . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 08 January 2021; Ref: scu.167753