Watson 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 unconstitutional, being inhuman treatment.
Held: The imposition of the mandatory death sentence on the appellant subjected him to an inhuman punishment. Since the the provision had been repealed and re-instated, it was not pre-existing law and was not saved by the new constitution: ‘So long as these laws remained untouched, they did not have to be scrutinised. But as soon as they were changed, adapted or modified in any respect, except in the circumstances referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) of section 26(9), they had to comply with the requirements of Chapter III.’ The results might be different for different constitutions.

Lord Bingham of Cornhill, Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead, Lord Steyn, Lord Hoffmann, Lord Hope of Craighead, Lord Scott of Foscote, Lord Rodger of Earlsferry, Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe, Mr. Justice Edward Zacca
[2004] UKPC 34, Times 14-Jul-2004, [2005] 1 AC 472
Bailii, PC, PC
England and Wales
CitedReyes 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 . .
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 . .
CitedRegina 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 . .
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 . .
CitedRegina v Powell (Anthony) and Another; Regina v English HL 30-Oct-1997
When the court looked at the issue of foreseeability of murder in an allegation of joint enterprise, there was no requirement to show intent by the secondary party. The forseeability of the risk of the principal committing the offence from the point . .
CitedDirector 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 . .
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 . .
CitedBoyce and Joseph v Regina PC 7-Jul-2004
(Barbados) The appellants challenged the constitutionality of the death penalty in Barbados.
Held: The new constitution banned treatment which was inhuman or degrading, but preserved existing penalties. The mandatory death sentence remained in . .

Cited by:
CitedDavid Gordon v The Queen PC 15-Dec-2005
PC (Jamaica) The defendant appealed his conviction for capital murder whilst in the course of committing a sexual offence.
Held: There had been weaknesses in the direction on joint enterprise, but the . .
CitedEvon Smith v The Queen PC 14-Nov-2005
PC (Jamaica) The Board was asked whether the offence was a capital murder. The murder was committed in the course of a burglary. The defendant had stood on a ladder and reached in through a window and attacked . .
CitedEbanks (Jurt) v The Queen PC 16-Feb-2006
(Jamaica) The defendant appealed against his conviction for murder saying that identification evidence had been wrongly admitted and also if that appeal failed against the sentence of death. Though the witness knew the defendant, an identification . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Commonwealth, Criminal Sentencing, Constitutional

Updated: 03 January 2022; Ref: scu.198647