The Barbados Court of Appeal has ruled that Jamar Dwayne Bynoe, who had previously been sentenced to death by hanging for his role in the 2010 store fire that killed six women, must return to the High court to be sentenced.
But the Court of Appeal upheld his conviction even as it overturned “the death penalty”.
Bynoe had appealed his 2016 conviction for the murders of six women in the September 3, 2010 Trendz Campus fire. A jury found him guilty of six counts of murder following the deaths of Shanna Griffith, Kelly -Ann Welch, Pearl Cornelius, Kellishaw Olivierre, Nikita Belgrave and Tiffany Harding.
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However, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) based in Trinidad, the island’s highest court, had in a separate case ruled that the mandatory death penalty in Barbados was unconstitutional.
“The conviction stands. The death penalty is overturned. The appellant is remanded to the Magistrates Court for re-conviction under Section 2(a)(1) of the Offenses Against the Person Act and the Offenses Against the Person Amendment Act , as soon as possible”, judge Margaret Reifer, judge of the Court of Appeal. ruled on Tuesday.
Former Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal Sir Marston Gibson, former Justice of Appeal Madam Justice Kaye Goodridge and Justice Reifer had heard the appeal.
Six independent Eastern Caribbean nations – Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, all members of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States ( OECS) – and Barbados, retain the death penalty for murder. Most of these countries have not executed anyone sentenced to death for at least ten years, the vast majority having not carried out any execution for more than twenty years.
The Death Penalty Project has challenged Barbados’ use of the mandatory death penalty on human rights grounds in court appeals dating back to 2004.