Judicial Committee of the Privy Council

Here is the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in action in 2023. (Brick Court Chambers just call it The Privy Council).

privy council quashes a conviction for armed robbery in the bahamas based on a confession allegedly obtained by police oppression

A horrifying story.

The Privy Council has today quashed the conviction of Mr Vinson Ariste for armed robbery on the ground that the confession on which the conviction was based should never have been admitted into evidence and rendered the conviction unsafe.

Mr Ariste was 20 years old in 2010, when the robbery happened. He looked much better before his police confession than after. In 2012 he was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment on the basis of this confession. He appealed unsuccessfully to the Bahamas Court of Appeal, and thereafter to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, which has now quashed the conviction. He was in prison for 12 years.

Paul Bowen KC, Emma Mockford and Jagoda Klimowicz acted pro bono on behalf of the Appellant, instructed by Simons Muirhead Burton / the Death Penalty Project.

Here is the trial.

I notice that the appellant is Mr Vinson Ariste and the respondent is The King.

The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) is the court of final appeal for the UK overseas territories and Crown dependencies. It also serves those Commonwealth countries that have retained the appeal to His Majesty in Council or, in the case of republics, to the Judicial Committee. The judges are usually the justices of the Supreme Court. The Bahamas is an independent country, and member of the Commonwealth, which has decided to retain the Queen, now King Charles III, as head of state.

This leaves the question of what is the Privy Council itself? A question much asked when Penny Mordaunt appeared as a swordbearer at the coronation, in her capacity as Lord President of the Privy Council. Anyone who wants details of that can find it on the web.

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