Caribbean court rejects appeal by ex-army officer in Grenada

Jun 15, 2015, 3:00 PM

ROSEAU, Dominica (AP) — A Caribbean appeals court on Monday dismissed an attempt to become a lawyer by one of 17 men convicted of murder in a bloody 1983 coup in Grenada that triggered a U.S. invasion.

The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court rejected the appeal by former army officer Ewart Layne, who hoped to gain admittance to Grenada’s legal bar.

In 2013, a Grenadian judge ruled that Layne must be blocked from the legal profession because of his coup conviction. In her decision, Justice Margaret Price-Findlay said Layne’s admittance to the island’s legal bar would “send an inconsistent message to members of the public and to the profession as a whole.”

On Monday, the Caribbean court rejected Layne’s appeal of that decision, saying it found “no unfairness” in the judge’s ruling. The regional court is currently hearing cases on the island of Dominica.

Layne’s lawyers said they will appeal to the Britain-based Privy Council, the court of last resort for a number of Caribbean countries.

Layne was part of the “Grenada 17,” the group arrested for the killings of Prime Minister Maurice Bishop, four Cabinet ministers and six supporters on Oct. 19, 1983.

Grenada became a flash point in the Cold War after Bishop led a bloodless coup in 1979 and installed a Marxist government. Bishop was killed by a firing squad after a radical faction staged a coup four years later.

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Caribbean court rejects appeal by ex-army officer in Grenada