Editorial for 25 June: Sentencing laws need to change

The release of one man convicted of murder in the Cayman
Islands could be the crack in the dam that sees more men freed from Her
Majesty’s Prison, Northward.

The governor’s office called the release of Blanford Dixon
‘proactive’. That’s probably what the release of at least three more killers
will be called.

It’s proactive because, if measures aren’t taken now to
address the human rights of those men who are serving life sentences for
murder, appeals to the UK and European courts will be filed – with the Cayman
Islands likely to foot the bill.

While these ‘proactive’ measures may keep the cases from
going to faraway courts, the governor’s simply releasing the convicted killers
on licence isn’t the best long-term solution.

Instead, legislators should change the law and give judges
options when sentencing.

As it stands now, anyone convicted of murder for helping
someone die in an act of mercy is just as guilty – and given the same life
sentence – as a mass murderer. That cannot be right.

The law should be changed to allow judges a minimum to a
maximum sentence, depending on the circumstances and evidence in the death of
another human being.

In 2006, the Human Rights Committee recommended minimum
sentencing tariffs that would allow judges to review the sentence after the
convicted person had served a minimum number of years to determine whether the
convicted murderer was still a danger to society.

Unfortunately, the sitting legislative body at the time and
subsequent governments ignored the report…and then Human rights legislation
came into full force in November 2012, under Cayman’s 2009 Constitution Order.

Unless Members of the Legislative Assembly change the law to
allow judges sentencing options, the governor’s office will have to continue to
be ‘proactive’ to keep these cases from being dragged into the UK or European
courts.

 

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1 COMMENT

  1. Unless Members of the Legislative Assembly change the law to allow judges sentencing options, the governor’s office will have to continue to be ‘proactive’ to keep these cases from being dragged into the UK or European courts.

    These cases…and others…have ALREADY been dragged into the European Court; this is why the Governor has had to make the decision to release Blanford Dixon on licence.

    This is the best way of getting around the lack of compliance with the European Court sentencing tariffs which apply in the UK and should apply in Cayman as well, until Cayman’s legislature can sort out the business of bringing Cayman’s laws in line with what is legally required.

    The reported cases in this news article are not new, they are the oldest murder convictions, bar one, in question and would have been the first to be reviewed by the European Court.

    The worrying problem for Cayman is the newer murder convictions given non-tariff life sentences.

    These convicts are much younger, more educated and very aware of their human rights and the consequences of having those rights abused or violated.

    They will NOT wait for 20-odd years that it has taken for this serious breach in Cayman’s laws to be fixed.

    They will, or for some of them, have already filed their appeals before the European Court of Human Rights…it is their right to do so and…

    These younger-generation convicts will take advantage of any law allowing them damages, particularly in cases where their appeals being heard takes a considerable period of time and the EC awards damages based on time spent in jail on an illegal sentence.

    I’m certain that there are many people in Cayman, possibly including some of these MLAs who do not grasp the seriousness of having Cayman’s laws not compliant with the EC human rights laws but…

    If they have to allow some of these younger, convicted killers back on Cayman’s streets because they have not done their job…

    They will grasp the seriousness of the matter soon enough !

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