(Communication No.253/1987, U.N.Doc. CCPR/C/41/D/253/1987 at 60 (1991)
Download Judgment:
Region: Africa
Year: 1991
Court: Human Rights Committee

The author of the Petition Kelly, was arrested and taken into custody on 20 August 1981, where he was detained without formal charges against him until 15 September 1981 when a statement was given to the police. He was then charged with the murder of Owen Jamieson on 2 July 1981. The author was thereafter tried in the Westmoreland Circuit Court between 9 and 15 February 1983 alongside his co-defendant Trevor Collins. The two were found guilty of murder and were sentenced to death. On 23 February 1983 the author appealed his conviction and on 28 April 1986 the Jamaican Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal without producing a reasoned judgment. On appeal the author’s counsel merely stated that he found no merit in arguing the appeal, the absence of a reasoned judgment of the court of appeal, made the author refrain from pursuing further petitions to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council for special leave to appeal.

The author made several allegations against the state party for violating his rights under the covenant. He was threatened and beaten by the police who tried to forcefully obtain a confession from him contrary to Articles 7 and 14, paragraphs 3 (g) of the covenant. He was placed in custody for nearly four weeks before he was formally charged, a period in which he was not allowed to contact his family and lawyers.

On 17 October 1989, the Human Rights Committee concluded and declared that the conditions for declaring the communication admissible, including the requirement of exhaustion of domestic remedies had been met. The committee held that a written judgment of the court of Appeal of Jamaica was a prerequisite for a petition for a special leave to appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

The committee in its powers was of the view that the facts before it discloses violations of articles 6,9, paragraphs 2 to 4, 10 and 14 paragraphs 3 (c) and (d) and 5 of the covenant.

The committee further viewed that the author was entitled to a remedy entailing his release.