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JAMAICA | Supreme Court ruling on SOE detention significant says Phillips

  • Written by Wiredja Newsdesk
  • Published in Justice
Featured Leader of the Opposition and President of the People's National Party (PNP) Dr Peter Phillips, M.P. Leader of the Opposition and President of the People's National Party (PNP) Dr Peter Phillips, M.P.
KINGSTON, JAMAICA. July 23, 2020: Leader of the Opposition and President of the People's National Party (PNP) Dr Peter Phillips,  says yesterday's ruling by Supreme Court Judge, Justice Bertram Morrison, on the unconstitutionality of the detention of citizens in the current States of Emergency (SOE) is of great constitutional significance.

Justice Morrison, in his oral judgement, stated that “a man's freedom could not be arbitrarily taken away without a final determination by the court.”  He said further that the Emergency Powers Act (EPA), the Emergency Powers Regulation (EPR), and detention orders are in breach of the constitution. The Judge also pointed out that in a free and democratic society, a man cannot be detained until the end of the state of emergency. "This is unconstitutional", he reiterated.

In a statement this morning, Dr Phillips said Justice Morrison's ruling represents a new phase in the maturing of Jamaica's democracy and highlights the value of the principle of separation of powers. He said while we await the written judgement to analyse the reasons, the ruling is consistent with the position of the PNP that any anti-crime strategy that involved an unduly prolonged wholesale infringement on the rights of Jamaicans cannot be an effective crime control strategy.

The Opposition Leader said this was an issue raised several times in the House of Representatives, as the party urged a collaborative approach.  Now, he said, this ruling is likely to have far-reaching implications for the future of the SOEs. 

Dr. Phillips said the party awaits the reasons to be provided by the court early next week.

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  • Countries: Jamaica