Monday, July 26, 2010

Exculpatory statements ... and trials in the fullness of time

A brief note on two Privy Council decisions from last week:

Gordon v R (Belize) [2010] UKPC 18 (21 July 2010) is an interesting little reminder that there are times when the prosecution is, in the interests of fairness to the accused, obliged to lead evidence of his exculpatory statement, applying R v Sharp [1988] 1 WLR 7 and R v Aziz [1996] 1 AC 41.

The case also illustrates a misdirection on provocation.

In Maraj-Naraynsingh v Attorney-General of Trinidad and Tobago [2010] UKPC 19 (21 July 2010) we are given a glimpse of what seems to be a relaxed attitude to work in the tropics: the case highlights an absence in that jurisdiction of a constitutional right to a trial within a reasonable time; the right to be brought before a court "promptly" after arrest cannot be extended to include a right to be tried promptly after committal.