Tue | Aug 22, 2017

Belize court ruling not binding on Jamaica - attorney

Published:Thursday | August 11, 2016 | 8:14 AM
Samuels says the ruling by the Belizean court is non-binding on other Caribbean courts.

Prominent defence attorney Bert Samuels says the oral judgment issued by the Supreme Court of Belize on that country’s anti-sodomy law will not have legal implications for Jamaica.

Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin has ruled that the law is unconstitutional and should be removed from the books.

Some have argued that the ruling has set a legal precedent and will influence common law.

READ: Belize court rules law punishing homosexuality is unconstitutional

However, Samuels says the ruling by the Belizean court is non-binding on other Caribbean courts.

 

Attorney at Law, Bert Samuels

He says any potential impact from the ruling will have to be determined when the court hands down its written judgment.

Samuels also says consideration will have to be given to whether the law in Belize is the same as in Jamaica.

In his application challenging Belize’s anti-sodomy law, Caleb Orozco argued that Section 53 of the Belize Criminal Code breached his constitutional right to human dignity and privacy by criminalising and stigmatising consensual sexual activities between gay men, violating their right to give expression to their sexuality.

The law calls for a 10-year prison sentence for what it terms carnal intercourse against the order of nature.

In agreeing with Orozco, the judge reportedly ordered that the offending section be changed to exclude consenting sexual acts between adults of the same gender.