On several occasions during the 1970s, American and European activists protested death sentences in the Caribbean, including notably in the case of Michael X, hanged in Trinidad in 1975 and the case of Larry Tacklyn and Erskine Burrows, whose execution in Bermuda in December 1977 was widely condemned and prompted several days of riots on the island. The conviction was later upheld on appeal, but nearly eighteen months after Bernard’s original trial, in late-1974, Stewart retracted her evidence and claimed that a man named Shorty Lloydie had threatened to shoot her if she did not identify Bernard as Stevenson’s killer.78 Following this revelation, a new petition seeking clemency for Bernard was submitted to the Governor General who sought guidance on the case from the Court of Appeal. In those studies, the main explanatory factors for developments in Caribbean capital punishment are identified as European legal and penal cultures, the activities of international human rights organisations and London-based lawyers, and the political concerns of the UK government. In due course, the matter was taken once more before the constitutional court, but the Judicial Committee upheld the death sentences, reversing its earlier judgment in. Second, the Gun Court Act (1974), created a new court designed to speed up the trial of crimes involving illegal firearms by significantly restricting defendants’ due process rights, but this did not extend to capital cases, and the proportion of murders that were solved fell sharply from more than 90 percent in the early-1960s to just 50 percent by the late-1970s. The reasons for the decision in Williams’s case are opaque, but might have reflected that the life of his accomplice, Hector, had already been spared, or the fact that he had spent more than seven years on death row. Notwithstanding this finding, Bernard’s death sentence was eventually commuted on the same date as Mario Hector’s due to his status as a juvenile, but the case left deep scars. Hector, M., Death Row, London, Zed Books, 1984. In Hector’s account, the men were no longer filled with “fear and despair”, but instead recognised the power of collective action and saw for the first time the significant difference “between death on the gallows and death at the end of a gun or the swing of a baton, while bearing the spirit of resistance”. The phrase “living death,” was used by condemned men in Alabama when interviewed by Johnson in 1978. 24 Jamaica, Department of Statistics (1953-1989). The cell doors remained closed at all other times except for a few minutes each morning when prisoners were taken, usually in groups of three, to empty their buckets, fill their water jugs and wash. Radios and reading material of any kind were prohibited in the cells, as were all items of personal hygiene. National studies have been overwhelmingly concerned with the United States. There is a small but powerful sociological and criminological literature on the “living death” endured by prisoners who have been condemned to die. Along with Eaton Baker, Paul Tyrell, Horace Coates and Everton McFarlane, whose sentences were commuted on the same day, the crime for which Hector was condemned to death had been committed when he was under the age of 18 and he had been sentenced in line with the provisions of a controversial 1948 amendment to Jamaica’s Juvenile Law that prohibited capital punishment only for offenders who were under 18 at the time of sentencing.66 Appeals against the Juvenile Law and the controversy and delays they generated were crucial to the fate of individual prisoners and – more broadly – helped create the conditions that sustained a broader attack on the death penalty throughout the rest of the decade, notably by drawing national and international attention to the law’s capriciousness and fallibility, and contributing to the long delays in enforcing death sentences that allowed for the emergence on death row of a group of radical prisoners united in common cause. The row was not as tightly managed as was typical in the United States, but it was, and remained, a brutal, austere, fetid and unsanitary place, filled with desperate men and prone to regular outbreaks of violence that were sometimes perpetrated by prisoners, but more often by poorly paid, overstretched and mostly untrained guards. In the wake of the 1977 petition and with the number of prisoners on death row growing to unprecedented and barely sustainable levels, a select committee was formed in the Jamaica House of Representatives to consider the revisions to the country’s capital laws proposed by the Barnett Commission. Among the findings were that most of the men were from low socio-economic backgrounds, grew up in violent neighbourhoods and came from large but unstable families in which the children “tend[ed] to be fathered by several different men” and frequently had to look after themselves. Irrespective of its constitutional merits, imposing the death penalty on juvenile offenders had become politically unacceptable in Jamaica. 34 Psychological Report, Ivan Morgan, 11 April 1991, Pratt and Morgan v. The Attorney General for Jamaica and another (Jamaica) [1993], UK Privy Council, 37. Barnett, L. G., Report of commission of enquiry into incidents which occurred at St. Catherine District Prison [on the] 27th December, 1974, Kingston, the Commission, 1975. While the actions of Hector and other condemned prisoners had done much to encourage debate on the future of capital punishment, it is important to recognise that theirs were not lone voices and their acts of resistance on death row took place against an unprecedentedly favourable backdrop outside the prison walls – both nationally and internationally. Johnson, R., Condemned to Die: Life Under Sentence of Death, New York, Elsevier, 1981. Les études nationales se sont principalement concentrées sur les Etats-Unis. 27 The right of appeal in murder cases was introduced in Jamaica in the 1930s, but the appeal process became lengthier after independence, as the new Jamaican Constitution and shifts in British and international death penalty law and practice opened up new avenues for review. Clarke, C., “Politics, violence and drugs in Kingston, Jamaica”. A security guard employed at the First National City Bank, Miller was shot dead on 6 November 1970 in the course of a robbery. Schabas, W. A., The Abolition of the Death Penalty in International Law, Third Edition, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2002. , Winchester, Waterside Press, 1996, pp. Before Rupert Anderson was executed in 1971, he asked Rev. 6 Johnson (1981, p.44). Recent opinion polls have shown that public support for the death penalty appears to be very high. 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