How Jamaica’s Charter of Rights aids blackmailers


Oliver Samuels (Photo courtesy of the Jamaica Observer) Oliver Samuels (Photo courtesy of the Jamaica Observer)

Activist lawyer Maurice Tomlinson tells how Jamaican law lays the groundwork for blackmail schemes such as the one that entrapped popular Jamaican actor Oliver Samuels.

Jamaica’s Charter of Rights is also a blackmailer’s charter

Jamaica’s 2011 Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms appears to constitutionally entrench the country’s 1864 British colonially imposed anti-sodomy law.

That’s because the charter contains a “saving law clause” that was included in deference to powerful fundamentalist churches.

Unlike Jamaica, Britain repealed its anti-sodomy law because, among other things, it was regularly used to blackmail high-profile gay men.  Following the 1957 publication of the Wolfenden Report (which described the anti-sodomy law as the “blackmailer’s charter”), sexual acts between two adult males, with no other people present, were made legal in England and Wales in 1967, in Scotland in 1980, Northern Ireland in 1982, UK Crown Dependencies Guernsey in…

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