(CNS): The chair of the Human Rights Committee believes the state of the Cayman Islands’ prison is such that inmates could have a good case for a human rights claim. James Austin-Smith told a visiting judge Friday that the decrepit jail was not fit for human habitation. Speaking in mitigation for his client, Robert Aspinall, who is facing several years at HMP Northward after admitting stealing half a million dollars, he impressed upon the judge that his client may have committed a white-collar crime but was not going to the type of facility where he would have an easy time.
Austin-Smith noted that the prison has been condemned by the UK’s prison inspectorate and that the place was a filthy, overcrowded, cockroach infested bleak environment, in which prisoners are kept in cells that are more like cages. He said his client would be doing hard time there, as he pointed out that the court has to consider the Bill of Rights. Attempting to dispel the myth that Northward was some kind of country club, he painted a visual picture for the judge of the reality of Cayman’s jail.
However, the judge pointed out that every man who is sentence by the courts will go to the same place and Aspinall could not be treated differently from anyone else just because the authorities were not capable of holding people in decent conditions.
Austin-Smith agreed but he said he believed all the prisoners that are serving time there could have a human rights case. Pointing out the obligation of the authorities to detain people in humane conditions, he said that HMP Northward fell far short.