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Judicial CP - November 2006

Corpun file 18621

Bahama Journal, Nassau, 3 November 2006

Last Minute Appeal Saves Convict From Flogging

By Candia Dames

An application for leave to appeal was filed on Thursday, saving prisoner Alutus Newbold from a flogging that was expected to take place any day now.

The application was filed in the Court of Appeal out of time, meaning it was filed after the deadline for appeal had passed.

Nearly a month ago, Justice Jon Isaacs sentenced Newbold to 16 years in prison and ordered that he get eight strokes of the rod; four at the beginning of his sentence and four at the end, after a jury found him guilty of one count each of burglary, attempted rape and causing harm.

The 34-year-old was given 21 days to appeal, but that expired on Friday.

Justice Isaacs sentenced Newbold to eight lashes of the rod for the burglary charge.

At the time, Justice Isaacs told Newbold that the jury had accepted the victim's version of what transpired one night at her Cat Island home after she had retired for the evening.

But Justice Isaacs said some beast invaded the elderly woman's home -- her sanctum where she should have felt safe -- and attempted to ravish her.

Justice Isaacs added that the court found that the victim, who prevented Newbold from raping her by grabbing his penis and squeezing so hard her fingernails left scars, ought to have had stronger fingers.

The judge's decision to order the flogging immediately sparked debate over the use of the rod.

While some people -- like Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson -- applauded the handing down of the ruling, others called for compassion and the abolishment of corporal punishment in The Bahamas.

Archbishop Drexel Gomez was among those who recently weighed in on the issue.

"Quite apart from the stated government policy of penal rehabilitation, it is simply unchristian for us to inflict any form of barbarity upon human beings," said Archbishop Gomez, in his charge at the opening of the 106th session of Synod at Christ Church Cathedral last week.

"Rehabilitation is the compassionate Christian response to the communal challenge on crime. The traditional secular over-emphasis of punishment has contributed to recidivism and the spiraling increase of violence in our community. We therefore call on all persons to exercise compassion and mercy even unto those whom we think are undeserving."

He added, "Simply put, our Saviour has warned us, even in the Garden of Gethsemane, 'Those who live by the sword die by the sword.' As a community we must strive to eschew violence in our daily lives. We must set examples of Christian love and attempt to control our anger so as to ensure that at all times we make Christian responses to all situations in which we are challenged."

The international human rights watchdog, Amnesty International, also expressed disappointment over the court ruling.

"What we're asking certainly at this stage is that this sentence not be carried out," said R. E. Barnes, Amnesty's Bahamas representative.

"We believe The Bahamas has to look at this sentence as a violation of Article 17 of the Constitution of The Bahamas which declares that no person shall be subjected to torture or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment."

He said The Bahamas would be in violation of international human rights laws if it were to administer flogging.

"So we find this a variation of the law here [and it's] something that needs to be looked at very seriously for both its legality and moral usage," Mr. Barnes said.

The Bahama Journal - Bahamas News Online Edition Copyright Jones Communications Ltd. 2005 - Nassau, Bahamas.

blob Follow-up: 29 June 2007 - Rod not spared yet for rapist

Corpun file 18580

Nassau Guardian, 4 November 2006

Stuart stands behind 'cat'

By Jasmin Bonimy
Guardian Staff Reporter

The use of the controversial cat-o'-nine-tails received support yesterday from the Bahamas Democratic Movement (BDM).

In a press release sent to The Nassau Guardian BDM leader Cassius Stuart said his party fully supports the use of the 'cat'.

"After listening to all the arguments against corporal punishment, one is forced to conclude that many if not all these arguments are baseless and should be rejected as such," said Mr Stuart. "The cat-o'-nine-tails as a measure of punishment should be used in The Bahamas and is supported by the Bahamas Democratic Movement.

"For many years we have been calling for tougher penalties against criminals in our society who commit heinous crimes," he continued. "In addition, we have constantly scolded the PLP administration for being soft on crime. The recent decision to enforce the cat-o'-nine-tails on sick and sadistic individuals was a victory for the BDM and we support the use of it." Mr Start added that he believed those who oppose the punishment should not back their claims with religious texts.

"Over the past few weeks many individuals have come against the enforcement of the cat-o'-nine-tails in the name of religion," he explained. "Some say as a Christian nation we must show love. Others say we must see Christ in every individual, even the criminals, whilst others are saying this type of punishment is cruel, barbaric and draconian in modern society.

"To punish individuals who rightfully deserve it is not fostering violence, it is however, a means of curbing unacceptable behaviour and maintaining a standard of law and order," he said. "Consequently, the absence of such standards breeds a violent and chaotic society."

Meanwhile, the use of the 'cat' was recently thrust into the media spotlight after the Alutus Newbold of Orange Creek, Cat Island was found guilty of burglary, attempted rape and causing harm, after an attack on an 83-year-old woman in her home in 2004. Justice Jon Isaacs ordered that Newbold be given eight strokes of the rod.

The cat-o'-nine-tails is a type of multi-tailed whipping device that originated as an implement for severe physical punishment as in the British Royal Navy. According to officials, this severe punishment is reserved for the most "egregious of cases."

The Bahamas reinstated the cat-o'-nine-tails back in 1991, and other countries in the Caribbean also use the punishment for heinous crimes.

According to reports, Antigua and Barbuda recalled the 'cat' on the bare back in 1990, Barbados in 1993, Trinidad in 1993 and Jamaica in 1994, but it was banned again by the Jamaican Court of Appeal in 1998.

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