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Court: Privy Council

Evidence of past violence showed motive to attack deceased

Phillip v Director of Public Prosecutions (St Christopher and Nevis) [2017] UKPC 14

The principal ground of appeal related to the evidence adduced by the prosecution of the history of the relationship between the appellant and his estranged wife, whose murder he had been convicted for. The Court held that the appeal should be dismissed.

Execution of mentally impaired may be subject to the prerogative of mercy

Pitman & Anor v The State (Trinidad and Tobago) [2017] UKPC 6

Both appellants, inter alia, contended that a death sentence was unlawful for an individual suffering from their level of mental impairment. However, both individuals had already had their death sentence substituted for life imprisonment. The appeals were dismissed.

Supreme Court overturns 30 year erroneous approach to joint enterprise murder

R v Jogee; Ruddock v The Queen (Jamaica) [2016] UKSC 8

An unprecedented joint judgment of the UKSC and the JCPC held that the principle of parasitic accessorial liability (PAL) (joint enterprise), by which a secondary party was guilty of murder if he foresaw that the principal might kill, even if the secondary party did not intend it, was wrong. The Court unanimously ruled that the PAL principle, first used in Chan Wing-Siu v The Queen [1985] 1 AC 168 and R v Powell and English [1999] 1 AC 1 represented a wrong turning in the law.

Privy Council had no jurisdiction to commute a lawfully passed death sentence on the grounds that it would be constitutional to carry it out

Hunte & Anor v State of Trinidad and Tobago [2015] UKPC 33

When the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council was hearing an appeal against a criminal conviction or sentence, it had no jurisdiction to commute a lawfully passed death sentence on the ground that it would be unconstitutional for the sentence to be carried out. The Privy Council’s only power to commute a death sentence for such reason was on appeal from a constitutional motion.