The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) in London remains as the final court of appeal for Grenada. Grenada retains the death penalty for aggravated murder and treason. In 2002, in the cases of R v Hughes, R v Reyes and Fox v The Queen, the JCPC confirmed the landmark decision of the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal (ECCA) in Spence & Hughes v The Queen where the ECCA ruled that the mandatory imposition of the death penalty was inhuman and thus unconstitutional. This decision applied to all OECS countries, including Grenada.
Although Grenada has been a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) since 1991, it has neither signed nor ratified the First Optional Protocol allowing for the right of individual petition nor the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR aiming at the abolition of the death penalty. Grenada ratified the American Convention on Human Rights in 1978, but it has not accepted the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. It has not signed the Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights to Abolish the Death Penalty.
As of 1st December 2012, there are three people on death row in Grenada.
Notable cases that we have worked on include:
Coard & Others v The Attorney General  UKPC
The 14 appellants in this case were convicted of murder and sentenced to the mandatory death penalty in 1986. In 1991, the Governor-General commuted all 14 death sentences to ‘natural’ life imprisonment. As a result of the ECCA ruling in Spence & Hughes in 2002, and the subsequent decisions of the JCPC declaring the mandatory death penalty “inhuman and degrading punishment” and therefore unconstitutional, the 14 prisoners claimed that the mandatory death sentences imposed on them had been unlawful. 23 years after they were first remanded in custody, the JCPC allowed the appeals and declared that the sentences of death imposed on the appellants invalid and remitted their cases to the Supreme Court of Grenada for resentencing. After re-sentencing hearings, determinate sentences were imposed and all 14 prisoners have now been released.
Read our press release here.
Between 2008-2009, we filed petitions in the Privy Council on behalf of ten prisoners originally sentenced to the mandatory death penalty in Grenada. All ten death sentences were quashed and the cases were remitted to the Supreme Court of Grenada for resentencing.
Jerry Date was resentenced to life imprisonment pending an ongoing assessment of his mental state. David Noel was resentenced to a life sentence for not less than 25 years. The court will review the case again in 2016 to determine whether he is fit to return to society. Errol Adonis received a 20 years sentence, and was released as he had already served his time. Dennis Charles, Benedict Jacob, Paul Lallion and Rudolph Baptiste have also been released. Steve Gilbert is due for release in 2013.
Two cases remain to be resolved: Nathan Charles’ case is pending hearing and we are currently assisting Donnasson Knights in his appeal against his life sentence in the Court of Appeal in Grenada.