SoE detainees to be released

July 23, 2020

Yesterday Supreme Court Judge, Justice Bertram Morrison, declared that the continued detention of five men under the states of emergency (SoEs) was unconstitutional, and ordered their release.

Everton Douglas, Nicholas Heat, Courtney Hall, Courtney Thompson, and Gavin Noble are to be taken to the Supreme Court on Monday to be released.

The habeas corpus writ challenging the men's detention was filed by attorneys John Clarke, Isat Buchanan and Seheeka Richards.

"The court declared that the Emergency Powers Act, the regulations and detention orders are unconstitutional. Those men would have to stay there at the minister's pleasure and until one of those tribunals has a heart or has a change of mind and exercises power it ought not to, because they simply don't have it," Buchanan, told THE STAR. The men are from Westmoreland, St Andrew South and East Kingston.

According to one attorney, the judge held that a man's freedom cannot be arbitrarily taken away without a final determination by the court. Morrison's written decision will be handed down by the end of the court term later this month.

Buchanan says some of the men have been detained for more than a year.

"The detentions are excessive. There are men detained for as long as the SoEs have been in existence. It is unconstitutional. Our beloved rights ... our charter of rights is revolutionary. The idea of our charter is to give effect to our constitutional rights, right to liberty, freedom of expression, freedom of movement, right to life ... all of these are in the constitution," he said.

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