Javin Johnson v Attorney General of St Vincent and the Grenadines

Judgment of the High Court in St Vincent and the Grenadines, upholding the criminalisation of consensual, same-sex sexual activity.

In February 2024, the High Court in St Vincent and the Grenadines, dismissed a legal case challenging sections 146 and 148 of the Criminal Code 1988, which criminalise consensual, same-sex sexual activity.

In dismissing the case, the judge held that the claimants did not have standing to bring many aspects of the constitutional challenge because they no longer live in St Vincent and the Grenadines, or had failed to provide sufficient evidence of historic rights violations. The judge found that the laws had interfered with the Claimants’ right to freedom of expression, but concluded this interference was justified on the grounds of public health and morality.

The decision is manifestly at odds with the positive trend towards decriminalisation in judgments delivered by nearby courts in the Eastern Caribbean in 2022, as well as a landmark 2021 decision from a top regional human rights tribunal finding that similar laws criminalising LGBT people in the Americas violate international law.

In 2019, Javin Johnson and Sean Macleish, two gay Vincentian men living in the United Kingdom and the USA respectively, filed the legal case challenging the constitutionality of these laws. VincyCHAP (St Vincent and the Grenadines Chapter of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Partnership), a local non-governmental organisation that works on HIV prevention and treatment, joined the case in 2021 as an interested party.

Read the judgment