Judiciary Conducting Review Arising From Noel Chambers Case

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A review by the judiciary with the support of the Department of Correctional Services and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions has been launched into the cases of mental illness persons now in custody with a view to determine the way forward for these individuals.

This is in response to the recent revelation that 81-year-old Noel Chambers died in custody in January after being held for 40 years without trial.

Chambers was one of 146 mentally ill people being held by the correctional department without trial, which was disclosed in a report by the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM).

Chambers, whose body bore bedsores and bites from bedbugs, had been held at the pleasure of the governor general after being charged with murder on February 4, 1980.

The judiciary, in a statement today, acknowledged that it is clear that many institutions, including the courts, failed in their duty to safeguard Chambers’ right to life, liberty, and a fair trial within a reasonable time.

It was indicated that the Chief Justice has established a Mental Health Task Force to look at the present law, practice, policies, and procedures relating to persons in custody with mental illness.

A report is expected within the next 120 days.