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TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO: PRIVY COUNCIL RULES MANDATORY DEATH PENALTY CONSTITUTIONAL

May 18, 2022:

The Privy Council has ruled that the mandatory sentence of death for murder in Trinidad and Tobago is constitutional, and only Parliament can reform and update the laws.
In the view of the law lords, the 1976 Constitution saves existing laws, including the mandatory death penalty, from constitutional challenge.
“The consequence of that is that the state of Trinidad and Tobago has a statutory rule which mandates the imposition of a sentence, which will often be disproportionate and unjust. The sentence is recognised internationally as cruel and unusual punishment. The state does not dispute that characterisation,” the Privy Council stated in a judgment delivered on 16 May 2022.
“The 1976 Constitution leaves it to the President, having received ministerial advice, to substitute a less severe form of punishment in an appropriate case by exercise of the powers in section 87 of the Constitution,” it added.
According to the ruling, the allocation of powers in the 1976 Constitution places on Parliament the burden of deciding when the existing laws which are protected by the savings clause should be amended or repealed to reflect changes in thinking about fundamental rights and freedoms and to accommodate changes in social and political values.
“The policy questions posed by the savings clause are not limited to the mandatory death penalty but apply also to other preserved laws which are inconsistent with the higher standards enshrined in section 4 of the 1976 Constitution,” the Privy Council ruled.
The law lords were asked to consider the constitutionality of the death penalty as the result of an appeal by murder convict Jay Chandler.
Chandler was sentenced to death by hanging in August 2011, and his conviction and sentenced upheld by the Court of Appeal in December 2013.
He was granted permission to appeal against his conviction to the Privy Council and sought unsuccessfully to have medical and psychiatric evidence admitted which had not been led at trial but which, he argued, tended to show that he might have had a defence of diminished responsibility at trial.
That appeal against conviction was dismissed in March 2018.
However, through his attorneys Edward Fitzgerald QC, Douglas Mendes SC, Rajiv Persad and Amanda Clift-Matthews, Chandler then appealed to the Privy Council challenging the constitutionality of the mandatory death sentence.
The case was heard in November 2021.
The primary constitutional question raised was whether the mandatory death penalty for murder is contrary to the Constitution adopted in 1976 when the state became a republic, on the ground that the 1976 Constitution required that the 1925 Act be modified to remove the mandatory death sentence for murder and to replace it with a discretionary death sentence. This discretion would allow the court to take account of the particular circumstances of the killing.
In its judgment, The Privy Council considered whether the 1976 Constitution prohibits Parliament from enacting a mandatory punishment to be inflicted on all persons who commit a particular crime.
“The answer is that it does not,” the Privy Council ruled.
However, the Law Lords commented “It is striking that there remains on the statute book a provision which, as the government accepts, is a cruel and unusual punishment because it mandates the death penalty without regard to the degree of culpability. Nonetheless, such a provision is not unconstitutional.”
The State was represented by attorneys Howard Stevens QC, Tom Poole QC, Fyard Hosein SC, and Hannah Fry.

(Sources: Trinidad express, 17/05/2022)

SAUDI ARABIA FREES YOUNGEST PRISONER WHO FACED EXECUTION
JORDAN HAS 239 PEOPLE ON DEATH ROW
UZBEKISTAN: THE DRAFT OF THE NEW CONSTITUTION PROPOSED TO BAN THE DEATH PENALTY
BANGLADESH: 6 JMB MEMBERS GET DEATH FOR KILLING FF
NIGERIA: POLYGAMOUS MAN SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR KILLING BOYFRIEND OF ONE OF HIS 3 WIVES
SOUTH KOREA: COURT HANDS DOWN RARE DEATH SENTENCE FOR MAN FOUND GUILTY IN DOUBLE MURDER CASE
MALAYSIA: COUPLE SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR GANJA TRAFFICKING SPARED GALLOWS
NIGERIA: EDO MAID SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR DRUGGING, KILLING IGBINEDION’S MOTHER
MALAYSIA: 1,341 PRISONERS IN LIMBO
NEW RESEARCH EXAMINES KENYAN ATTITUDES TOWARDS THE DEATH PENALTY
IRAN - Firuz Musalou secretly executed in Urmia Prison on June 20
IRAN - Abdol Latif Moradi executed in Mashhad on June 20
IRAN - Abdulrashid Sahneh executed in Gorgan on June 20
NIGERIA: MAN SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR ARMED ROBBERY IN EKITI
IRAN - Rasoul Khosravi-Baboli and Gholam Eslami executed in Shiraz on June 19
KENYA: GUARD RICHARD MUTAI SENTENCED TO DEATH OVER MURDER
USA - Florida. Alan Wade resentenced to life without the possibility of parole
IRAN - Shah Gholam Kanjourian executed in Babol on June 16
USA - Georgia. Ricky Dubose sentenced to death
IRAN Ali Ranjbar executed in Bandarabbas on June 15
IRAN - Mohsen Norouzi executed in Rasht on June 16
PAKISTAN: MAN SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR MURDERING COP
GHANA: FETISH PRIEST SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR SACRIFICING WIFE AND DAUGHTER TO GODS
USA - Percentage Who View the Death Penalty as Morally Acceptable Remains Near Record Low
GUYANA: DEATH PENALTY AMONG SENTENCES FOR MEN WHO MURDERED CORENTYNE FATHER
IRAN - Four more men executed in Rajai Shahr Prison on June 15
SAUDI COURT UPHOLDS DEATH SENTENCE FOR MAN CONVICTED AS MINOR
IRAN - 8 men executed in Rajai Shahr Prison on June 15
EGYPT: 7 PAKISTANIS SENTENCED TO DEATH COMMUTED TO LIFE IMPRISONMENT
VIETNAM: MAN SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR RAPING, MURDERING 12-YEAR-OLD GIRL

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