Ben Mullany dies, Govt interferes with Antiguan Justice

#1
Ben Mullany dies in hospital as news breaks of Foreign Office meddling in Antiguan Law. So much for being tough on crime, this was one of the worst.

The British government faces a potential diplomatic row with Antigua over the shooting of the honeymoon couple Catherine and Benjamin Mullany after demanding that anyone convicted of the crime will not face the death penalty.

Antiguan officials told The Daily Telegraph that the Foreign Office attempted to make such a pledge a condition of allowing Scotland Yard detectives to fly out to help in the investigation.
One senior Antiguan source said British officials initially demanded a signed guarantee from the country’s Prime Minister, Baldwin Spencer.
The Antiguan interior minister told the Foreign Office that the government could not make any such pledge as the death penalty was decided by the Caribbean island’s judiciary, which is technically independent.
The British demand to its former colony is understood to have annoyed Antigua’s leadership. Eight years ago, the two countries clashed diplomatically with its former colony after the UK tried to stop the execution of Steadroy McDougal for the murder of a Scottish woman and her boyfriend.


With Antiguan police struggling to find suspects in the shooting of Catherine and Benjamin Mullany, Britain has decided to dispatch a team of detectives despite the absence of any death penalty guarantee.
However, the Foreign Office has made clear in strong terms to the Antiguans that it does not expect anyone convicted as a result of a British investigation to face capital punishment.
A Foreign Office spokesman said that, “in parallel” to the investigation, “we will continue to seek assurances from the Antiguan government that anyone found guilty will not face the death penalty”.
 
#2
It is a bitter sweet moment. I feel desperately sorry for the couple, and think that maybe his death is a blessing in disguise, if you know what I mean.

As for Liarbour sticking their noses in, it is just another example of the holier than though attitude of the wnakers

But at the end of it all, it is just a massively sad thing. Personally, they should skin the culprits alive. On TV.
 
#3
an excellent idea, if a wrong man is commited and sentance to death the relatives will sue the British govenment for all they are worth.
 
#4
I'm seriously sorry to hear of the death of Ben, my thoughts go to both his family and that of his late wife.

Unfortunately you have not linked to the original article, and doubtless the Telegraph has an agenda, although strangely enough they make absolutely NO mention of Labour policy in their article (linked above), only to a Foreign Office policy that has been in force for decades. The BBC similarly make no mention of any political angle, and it is shameful that anyone would seek to pursue a political agenda through capitalising on the tragic loss of two people enjoying their honeymoon

The death penalty was thankfully abolished in this country many, many years ago, when I was still in short trousers, and there are many people around like me who recall the high proportion of convicted (and hanged) people who were subsequently exonerated and pardoned. Slim comfort to the families of people who lost their loved ones in such a barbaric manner.

Whatever my personal views, the abolition of the death penalty was the result of a democratic vote based on humanitarian opinion that for once reflected the wishes of the majority of the people, not specifically a labour issue and most decidedly not a "Nu Labour" issue, but a policy now adopted throughout Europe. No matter how much I would want the people who did this slowly and painfully executed, that is not how things are done in civilised countries.

wompingwillow says it for me in far fewer words
an excellent idea, if a wrong man is commited and sentance to death the relatives will sue the British govenment for all they are worth
 
#5
Why should a British government (red or blue) lend out its workers when the end result might be against its policy, a ploicy that has been consistant for the last 40 years?
 
#6
Thunderer said:
Why should a British government (red or blue) lend out its workers when the end result might be against its policy, a ploicy that has been consistant for the last 40 years?
Because the policy is wrong.
 
#7
I don't see why we are having any involvement in the case at all. Is Antigua not a sovereign nation? I trust that if British police are sent over there the Antiguan Government will be covering the cost. If they don't want to be governed by the UK then they can sort there own problems out.

Condolences to the parties involved.
 
#8
Consistent policy? Isn't that an oxymoron?

Hang them. All. Yes I am a reactionary, why do you ask??
 
#9
Anyway, it's easy enough fixed; the Antiguan's say "Yes, we promise not to hang the b@stard when we catch him. Honest. Cross our hearts and hope to die."

Then they shoot the cnut! :twisted:
 

Command_doh

LE
Book Reviewer
#10
I don't see why we are having any involvement in the case at all
I personally would suspect it has something to do with the Antiguan Police, whilst hailing from a picturesque (if slum - like and generally 3rd world esque in terms on economic development) Island, probably cannot detect the difference between a ring piece and and an elbow. Its natural that our more experienced and better equipped plods would be offered. And after what happened with the Madelaine McCann debacle (and that was from a supposedly developed nation, and an EU partner at that), I can totally understand why the Liarbour hand wringers would want to see a result in this one. Public interest is high, and considering the knee jerk number of initial arrests, Cyclops and the jackals probably saw easy media points by a Met assist. But they can't let someone swing for it..oh no, that would be too much like proper justice, when it would be easier to let the offender out after a 1/4 sentence to re offend.
 
#11
Command_doh said:
I don't see why we are having any involvement in the case at all
I personally would suspect it has something to do with the Antiguan Police, whilst hailing from a picturesque (if slum - like and generally 3rd world esque in terms on economic development) Island, probably cannot detect the difference between a ring piece and and an elbow. Its natural that our more experienced and better equipped plods would be offered. And after what happened with the Madelaine McCann debacle (and that was from a supposedly developed nation, and an EU partner at that), I can totally understand why the Liarbour hand wringers would want to see a result in this one. Public interest is high, and considering the knee jerk number of initial arrests, Cyclops and the jackals probably saw easy media points by a Met assist. But they can't let someone swing for it..oh no, that would be too much like proper justice, when it would be easier to let the offender out after a 1/4 sentence to re offend.
Those are vile accuracies! 8O :twisted:
 

oldbaldy

LE
Moderator
#12
The final Court of Appeal for Antigua is The Judical Committee of the Privy Council:
http://www.privy-council.org.uk/output/page5.asp

This committee has always commuted any death penalty passed overseas, for areas where they have juristiction, to Life, ever since we did away with the death penalty.
A non story to try to stir something up.
 
#13
Given that HMG is prepared to let the Saudis manipulate our - supposedly independent - legal / justice system, it comes as no surprise that they think it acceptable to try and manipulate others.

In fact, this seems to give us a true indicator of our standing in the world: below Saudi Arabia, but a little higher than Antigua, perhaps!
 
#16
Thanks Baldy found this on the interweb, anyone know what happened to steadroy?

UK fights to stop Antigua execution
Sunday Herald, The, Oct 15, 2000 by Exclusive Neil Mackay

E-MAILPRINTLINK
THE right to execute an Antiguan man who brutally murdered a Scottish woman and her boyfriend has triggered a bitter diplomatic battle between the British government and the UK's former colonies in the Caribbean.

Britain is to attempt to stop Antigua executing Steadroy McDougal, who was sentenced to death on the paradise island on Tuesday for the murder of 24-year-old Louise Torrens, from Bridge of Weir in Renfrewshire, and her lover Mitchell Melius, from the island of St Lucia.

The killing horrified the island and McDougal's death sentence was greeted by its 70,000-strong population with almost universal support.

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UK fights to stop Antigua execution
McDougal is now to appeal the death sentence, taking his battle all the way to the Privy Council in London which acts as the highest court of appeal for Antigua and the other former British colonies in the Caribbean. Traditionally, the Privy Council intervenes to stop Caribbean executions.

McDougal, who is to be hanged, will probably leave death row after his sentence is commuted to life imprisonment. There are currently eight men on Death Row in the Antiguan capital of St John's, but the island has been prevented from carrying out any executions since 1990.

The battle to execute McDougal has triggered a diplomatic crisis between Britain and its former colonies. The government of Antigua, which achieved independence from the UK 30 years ago, is outraged that Britain will attempt to over-ride the nation's courts.

Antigua's Prime Minister, Lester Bird, and the country's Attorney General, Dr Errol Cort, now want to end British interference in Caribbean justice. Antigua and 12 other Caribbean states including Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad, have begun moves to establish an Eastern Caribbean Court of Justice, which would oust the Privy Council as the final court of appeal for the former colonies. There are no legal measures to prevent the nations replacing the Privy Council.

Antigua's director of public prosecutions launched a blistering attack on Britain, accusing it of "outdated and arrogant colonialism".

Cosbert Cumberbatch, who prosecuted McDougal, said: "It is very clear that the British Privy Council intends to abolish the death penalty in Caribbean countries by the back door."

Six men in Jamaica had their death sentences commuted to life imprisonment last month by the Privy Council, causing fury in the island state.

Cumberbatch said the Privy Council had effectively ended the death penalty by ruling that nobody could be executed in the Caribbean if they had been on Death Row for more than five years.

"In Antigua, 95% of the population support the death penalty and feel frustrated when the UK tells us that we can not execute murderers who our courts have sentenced to death," Cumberbatch said.

"The UK has no under-standing of our norms or our opinions. If we as a nation did not want to execute this man it would be a different matter, but we do and Britain should have no role in our decisions.

"The Privy Council is out of touch with the Caribbean and is simply exerting the feeble powers of a dying empire. This is blatant colonialism. The right for Antigua to execute McDougal is a matter of sovereignty."

Cumberbatch said Antigua was horrified by McDougal's crime.

The condemned man began a relationship with Louise Torrens after she moved to the island to work. The couple lived together for two months but they broke up two weeks before her death on Christmas Eve, 1998.

McDougal had physically and mentally abused her. On the night of her death he saw Louise dancing with her new lover, Mitchell Melius, at a nightclub.

He followed the couple home and beat them to death with a hammer. After laying them on their beds, he torched their flat.

John Watherstone, the Registrar of the Privy Council, said the Privy Council was now intervening more and more in the use of the death penalty in the Caribbean in order to "ensure that every legal safeguard is used" to prevent the unnecessary use of the death penalty.

One Privy Council source said: "The Privy Council is damned no matter what it does.

"When it plays the good guy and saves people from the gallows it is seen as colonial. But if it tries not to interfere in the affairs of another country it is seen as sacrificing a life."
 
#18
Werewolf said:
Because the policy is wrong.
Is it? Do you really know what the hell you are on about? Have you actually been to any countries where the death penalty is routinely carried out, or don't you want to emigrate to Iran, Angola or China? Heve you looked for one nanosecond at the numbers of people who have been executed in this country and then later pardoned because it was subsequently established that they weren't guilty?

Of course you haven't, it's far more convenient to blame politics when the Foreign Office is only adhering to a democratically imposed policy of humanity that has been in place for over 40 years. Never let it be said that the facts got in the way of a good outrage that has shag all to do with the current government.

I hate the labour party as much as anyone (no, I didn't vote them in either of the last two elections), and I blame them for a great deal of what is wrong today, but I fail to see what they have to do with the disappearance of Madeleine McCann or the fact that the Portuguese placed disproportionate faith in the behaviour of specialist police dogs (supplied by the UK) or the forensic c0ckups (caused by UK forensic labs) that resulted in accusations being made against British subjects that later had to be withdrawn.

I also fail to see what they have to do with the tragic death of two British newlyweds on honeymoon in a third world country who, it is reported, indisciminately chose the company of local drugs dealers to take them on a tour around the island and (if reports are to be believed) paid for that error in judgement with their lives.

But if our plicy is geared against capital punishment, and given that they need our help to clear up a mess of their own creation, it seems right and proper that we set the terms.

As Oldbaldy says, this is a non story to try to stir things up, to make political capital out of a terrible tragedy. I've heard some bollox in my time, but this takes the biscuit.

/rant over
 
#19
The load of Guardian reading tossers that make our laws (when they are not subsuming them to their mates in Brussels) voted for the end of the Death penalty on a free vote (to allow them to use their conscience).

If the great British public were allowed to vote I suspect that the democratic will of the people would be somewhat different.

I am in two minds about the death penalty, but would probably vote against it, but don't try and tell me that the democratic will of the people is being enacted by it being banned.
 
#20
The point being,"In Antigua, 95% of the population support the death penalty and feel frustrated when the UK tells us that we can not execute murderers who our courts have sentenced to death," Cumberbatch said.

A free vote in UK Parliament has got f**k all to do with Antigua, regardless of how strongly you feel about the death penalty. If you love democracy so much, why don't you just let the Antiguans get on with their own justice?
 

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