“Different times, different mores”: Mandatory time limits in death penalty appeals ruled unlawful

16.06.17 | |

In a judgment handed down this week, the Privy Council in Lovelace v The Queen has held its previous decision in Pollard v The Queen [1995] 1 WLR 159 should no longer be followed. In Pollard, the Board had regarded as lawful the provision in section 48(2) of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) Act limiting to two weeks the time to appeal in a case where the death penalty had been passed and providing for no discretion for the court to extend time. This provision applied in almost identical terms across the Eastern Caribbean and originated from historic British legislation at a time when executions were expected to be carried out within a matter of weeks after sentence.  In Lovelace, Lord Kerr revisited the Board’s decision in Pollard, noting “different times, different mores”. He concluded that the constitutional provisions securing protection of the law rendered unlawful a rigid and inflexible time limit for appealing. Mr Lovelace was represented by Paul Bowen QC and Richard Thomas, instructed by Simons Muirhead and Burton.

 

Read the judgement here and the press release from the Death Penalty Project here.

 

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