(Communication No.606/1994, U.N.Doc. CCPR/C/54/D/606/1994(1995)
Download Judgment:
Region: Africa
Year: 1995
Court: Human Rights Committee

The author of the Petition, Francis, was arrested and charged on 22 February 1980 for the murder of A.A. on 26 January 1981, he was found guilty and sentenced to death in Kingston, Jamaica. Francis made an appeal to the Jamaican Court of Appeal on 18 November 1981, which appeal was dismissed and a warrant of execution was issued on 23 February 1988 but a stay was granted to enable the petitioner pursue appeal with the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council not later than 30 April 1988. The author went through several motions of appeal with assistance of a London based law firm and the Jamaican Council on Human Rights.


The author got a reprieve in December 1992 when the offense he was charged with murder for was reclassified and the death penalty lifted. The author was removed from death row and taken to general penitentiary, to serve a 10 year term before he could be eligible for parole. The author brings this petition alleging contravention of his rights under the convention and seeking early release for, among other things, deteriorating medical conditions and psychological trauma on account of his incarceration in the death row category. His clamor for justice in the country has not been fruitful, having exhausted all the local remedies for the purposes of the Optional Protocol.


The applicant alleged in particular, failure of the state to accord him an opportunity to seek redress form a higher tribunal and the psychological trauma inflicted on him during his incarceration with the death row prisoners

The court declared the complaints concerning the applicant’s civil and political rights were admissible. The court held that there has been a violation of Article 5 paragraph 1 of the Convention in its substantive aspect on account of the national authorities’ failure to uphold the right to fair trial and enable him to pursue a remedy in a higher tribunal.

Having regard to the 12 years that the author spent on death row and the indifference displayed to his grave psychological problems, the Court concludes that the national authorities were responsible for the deterioration of the author’s problems by detaining him for 13 years awaiting delivery of judgement by the Court of Appeal, the ridicule and alleged beatings from wardens.

The court held that there has been a violation of Article 2 of the Convention and the author is entitled to compensation including appropriate treatment, compensation and consideration for early release.