Reuters, December 18, 1998

Jamaican court abolishes flogging, whipping

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Dec 18 (Reuters) - A Jamaican court issued a ruling on Friday that abolishes flogging as part of the country's penal system, a measure hailed by opponents who had called whipping a barbaric reminder of slavery.

The Jamaica Court of Appeal issued its ruling in the case of Noel Samuda, a labourer who was sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment for rape and burglary, plus twelve strokes with the tamarind switch.

The court ruled four to one that the law that would have allowed Samuda's whipping had lapsed after the Second World War and that Jamaica's constitution did not allow flogging, a practice used in the Caribbean island since the days of slavery.

Attorney Dennis Daily, who was part of Samuda's defence team, said he welcomed the ruling as a victory for human rights in Jamaica. ``The retention of whipping and flogging has been like a sore on our backs all these years. It's like a yoke has been lifted from the psychology of the Jamaican people.''

Corporal punishment was revived in Jamaica four years ago when Justice Carl Patterson sentenced 23-year-old labourer Errol Pryce to four years imprisonment at hard labour and six strokes of the tamarind switch for stabbing his mother-in-law in the neck with an ice pick.

Return to Newsroom Index or to Table of Contents