Edward Fitzgerald QC, Sonia Timothy and Daniella Waddoup’s client released from unlawful detention in hospital after 37 years
After being found ‘guilty but insane’ by the Court of Appeal of The Bahamas on 27th February 1985, Eric Stubbs was sentenced to indefinite detention in hospital at the pleasure of the Governor General. He was held in extremely restrictive conditions for 37 years and subject to solitary confinement for 32 of those years.
On 15th December 2021, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council allowed Mr Stubbs’s appeal on the basis that the sentence imposed on him was in breach of the principle of the separation of powers and therefore unconstitutional and unlawful. The sentence made no provision for regular reviews by a court or tribunal in order to determine Mr Stubbs’s progress and whether his detention continued to be justified. It was Mr Stubbs’s case that he had for some time been well enough to be discharged into the community, but that the lack of a review mechanism prevented consideration being given to this.
Following the Privy Council’s order, the matter was remitted to the Supreme Court of The Bahamas, which, on 28th February 2022, approved Mr Stubbs’s discharge from hospital. This was the first time Mr Stubbs had left hospital since 1985.
Edward Fitzgerald QC and Daniella Waddoup were instructed on a pro bono basis by Anne Collins and Jessica Gladstone of Clifford Chance LLP. Sonia Timothy of Trinity Chambers Bahamas has represented Mr Stubbs from the outset, and continues to represent him in ongoing proceedings in The Bahamas arising from his unlawful detention.