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Case details

Justin Ramoon (Appellant) v Governor of the Cayman Islands and another (Respondent) (Cayman Islands)

Case ID: JCPC 2022/0066

Jurisdiction: Court of Appeal of the Cayman Islands

Case summary

Issue

This appeal concerns the lawfulness if the appellant’s removal from the Cayman Islands to serve his prison sentence in England. It raises the following issues. First, whether the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands has an implied statutory power or an inherent power to hold a closed material procedure ("CMP") when determining claims brought under the Bill of Rights of the Cayman Islands. Second, if there is no power to order a CMP, what approach should the Grand Court adopt? Third, whether the appellant’s rights were sufficiently safeguarded to ensure compliance with the Cayman Bill of Rights when the challenged decision was taken.

Facts

In May 2016 the appellant, Mr Ramoon, together with another, was convicted of the murder of Jason Powery. He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 35 years and sent to HMP Northward in the Cayman Islands. The Cayman authorities soon recorded "compelling" intelligence that Mr Ramoon had continued to orchestrate gang-related activities in prison including conspiracy to murder, the smuggling of drugs, firearms, and hitmen into Cayman, threats to staff at HMP Northward and assaults on other inmates. In June 2017, Mr Ramoon was transferred to a high security prison in England, pursuant to powers conferred by the Colonial Prisoners Removal Act 1884 (the “1884 Act”).

Mr Ramoon was given neither notice nor any opportunity to make representations until after he had been transferred to prison in England. Mr Ramoon brought a judicial review claim challenging his transfer. He sought the application of the Cayman Bill of Rights to decisions under the 1884 Act, to argue that the decision-making process was unfair, and to challenge the legality of the 1884 Act framework. He also argued that the removal decision had taken insufficient account of his family rights. At first instance, the judge dismissed the judicial review application. Mr Ramoon appealed to the Court of Appeal of the Cayman Islands, which dismissed the appeal. The Court of Appeal held that the 1884 Act provisions are in accordance with the law but must be exercised compatibly with the Bill of Rights, and that given that there are only unsatisfactory possibilities if a CMP is unavailable, and yet Mr Ramoon has an express right to challenge decisions under the 1884 Act, the Grand Court has the power to order a CMP. Mr Ramoon now appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

Parties

Appellant(s)

Justin Ramoon

Respondent(s)

The Governor of the Cayman Islands and another

Appeal

Justices

Lord Reed, Lord Hodge, Lord Lloyd-Jones, Lord Briggs, Lord Kitchin

Hearing start date

18 November 2022

Hearing finish date

18 November 2022