Trinidad and tobago sex chat

13 Feb

Since the committal order would have been unlawful under the common law, which governed contempt before the Constitution came into effect, it followed that the failure of the judge to inform the appellant of the nature of the contempt charged before committing him to prison constituted deprivation of liberty without due process of law within the meaning of s 1(a) (see p 676 e f and j to p 677 a and e and j to p 678 c and e and p 680 j, post); dictum of Lord Devlin in Director of Public Prosecutions v Nasralla [1967] 2 All ER at 165 and de Freitas v Benny [1976] AC 239 applied.

(iii) (Lord Hailsham of St Marylebone dissenting) Section 6(1) of the Constitution created a remedy against any interference with the rights or freedoms protected by s 1 which would have been unlawful under the previously existing law in addition to any other remedy which may have been available.

This entitlement did not subvert the rule of public policy that a judge could not be made liable for anything done by him in the exercise of his judicial functions for it was only errors in procedure amounting to failure to observe the rules of natural justice, which were likely to be rare, that were capable of constituting infringement of the rights protected by s 1.

Moreover, the claim for damages under s 6(1) was a claim against the state directly and not vicariously for something done in the exercise of its judicial power, and a failure by a judge too observe the rules of natural justice would bring the case within the scope of s 6 only if the deprivation of liberty had already been undergone.

HEADNOTE: On 17th April 1975 a judge of the High Court of Trinidad and Tobago made an order committing the appellant, a barrister, to prison for seven days for contempt of court.

The appellant appealed to the Judicial Committee against the decision.

a Section 6 is set out at p 674 j to p 675 d, post b Section 1, so far as material, is set out at p 674 f g, post c [1977] 1 All ER 411 Held – (i) The claim for redress in the motion fell within the original jurisdiction of the High Court under s 6(2)(a) of the Constitution since it involved an enquiry into whether the procedure adopted by the judge before committing the appellant to prison had contravened the appellant’s right, under s 1(a) of the Constitution, not to be deprived of liberty otherwise than by due process of law, and did not involve an appeal on fact or substantive law from the judge’s decision that he was guilty of conduct amounting to contempt of court.

Accordingly Scott J, though of equal rank tothe judge who made the committal order, had jurisdiction to entertain the motion.

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