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Barbados to bring first death penalty case to new Caribbean court

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MOTTLEY we have decided that we will appeal

July 27 PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (AP) - Barbados will take the first death penalty case to the Caribbean court that replaced the colonial-era Privy Council as the country's highest court of appeal, an official said yesterday.

Barbados will ask the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice to restore death sentences against Lennox Boyce, 28, and Jeffrey Joseph, 29, Barbados Attorney- General Mia Mottley said during a conference in Trinidad. The pair was convicted and sentenced to hang in 2002 in the murder of a 22-year-old woman.

The Barbados High Court commuted their sentences to life imprisonment in June, ruling they would likely be on death row for an inhumanely long time while they wait for their cases to be heard in the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights.

Several Caribbean governments, faced with rising crime, have welcomed the new regional court as an opportunity to resume executions, something the London-Based Privy Council has blocked in recent years. Barbados has not executed anyone since 1984.

Mottley said the government would ask the Barbados High Court for leave to appeal to the Caribbean court.

"We have decided that we will appeal and as we speak today, the formal process of applying for leave ... is going ahead," she said.

Although the Caribbean court was inaugurated in April, Barbados and Guyana are the only two countries that have formally adopted it as their highest appellate court. Other countries are struggling to overcome legal and political obstacles to shedding their dependence on the 170-year-old Privy Council, the highest appellate body for most former British colonies in the Caribbean.

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