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Thread: Trinidad & Tobago

  1. #1
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    Oct 2010

    Trinidad & Tobago

    Hangings to resume in T&T

    Murders will now come in three categories

    Government on Friday tabled legislation to remove obstacles to the death penalty and to allow for the creation of three categories of murder in T&T. The Constitution (Amendment) (Capital Offences) Bill, 2011, tabled in the name of Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, seeks to categorise the crime of murder and allow for the death penalty to be imposed for killings under Category 1, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said in a statement in the House of Representatives on Friday.

    The government has been unable to carry out the death penalty, which is the law of the land, because of a five- year limit imposed by the Privy Council in the Pratt and Morgan case several years ago. Persad-Bissessar said the Thomas and Hilaire vs Baptiste matter at the Privy Council in 1999, upheld the right of condemned persons to access international bodies to which Trinidad and Tobago has subscribed, even if such bodies were unable to or unwilling to deal with capital cases within a reasonable time so as to allow Trinidad and Tobago to comply with the deadlines laid down in Pratt and Morgan.

    She added that the case of Lewis vs the AG for Jamaica (2000) “has opened the door for potential challenges to the proceedings of the Mercy Committee.” That, Persad-Bissessar explained, was because the ruling specified that a condemned person must be notified that the Mercy Committee would be meeting to consider his case, be given all information that the Mercy Committee would consider and be invited to make a written representation to the committee.

    She said that case also suggested that deplorable prison conditions might aggravate the punishment of the death sentence so as to amount to inhumane and degrading treatment. According to the Prime Minister, the bill seeks to “overcome the hindrances to the implementation of the death penalty arising out of various Privy Council decisions.” Those delays include, pre-and-post-trial delay, legitimate expectation that the Mercy Committee would consider the findings of an international body and prison conditions.

    Persad-Bissessar said the legislation “does not seek to impose any new penalties, it simply seeks to plug some of the loopholes that have been exploited and manipulated by murderers who have been sentenced to death according to law.” Noting that execution by hanging for convicted killers was the law of the land, the PM said her government was committed to the resumption of hangings for convicted murderers.

    Persad-Bissessar said the legislation would allow for three categories of murder. “We intend to restrict the mandatory imposition of the death sentence in relation to murder (category) 1,” she added. That category will include the murder of a member of the T&T security forces, prison officer, a judicial or legal officer. She said murders of families and witnesses in court proceedings also would fall under murder category 1.

    She said in category 2 a person will be hanged if they committed more than one murder in T&T. The bill also will specify the circumstances in which life imprisonment may be imposed for murder 2 and the classification of murder 3 as involuntary homicide. Persad-Bissessar told the Lower House the people of T&T have had enough from the criminals and it was now time for the state to retaliate with full force.

    She said the “terrifying tsunami of crime” in T&T has made a mockery of the state’s ability to guarantee citizens the constitutional right to security.

    “This basic and fundamental right is under threat,” she told Parliamentarians. The tough-sounding Prime Minister said she refused “to let a small handful of devious criminals hold this nation to ransom while they savagely attack and brutalise our society.” She insisted her PP Government remained committed to fighting crime “frontally.” “We intend to retaliate with full force and strike back,” Persad-Bissessar stressed.

    She said hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on social and training programmes to improve the quality of life of citizens over the years. Consequently, there was little or no reason for a life of crime in this country, she added. “We have tolerated it for too long and the change demanded by the population on May 24 calls for a radical and revolutionary visionary approach to our many inherited problems,” she said.

    Persad-Bissessar said the law did not provide for the removal of all the constitutional rights of appeal by a convicted killer, “so there will not be another Glen Ashby” if the measure is approved. Ashby was hanged under a previous government before a ruling was given on an appeal he filed. Persad-Bissessar, in her lengthy presentation, said the population voted on May 24 last year for change and government intended to take “radical” actions to ensure the required change was delivered to the population.


  2. #2
    Administrator Moh's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
    Brothers sentenced to death for murder of URP foreman

    The death sentence was read twice in less than five minutes to two brothers from Laventille after they were convicted yesterday of murdering an Unemployment Relief Programme (URP) foreman. It took a 12-member jury in the Port-of-Spain First Assizes three hours to return with the guilty verdicts for Elroy Campbell, 36, and his brother Glenroy, 35, both of Eastern Quarry, Laventille.

    However, even after being given an additional hour to deliberate, the jury, consisting of 11 men and one woman, could not arrive at a unanimous verdict for their neighbour Rodney Antoine, 33. Justice Devan Rampersad, who presided over their trial, then explained that Antoine would have to face a retrial. While the jury foreman was announcing the verdicts, both men looked at each other and then turned around to glance at their sobbing relatives seated in the public gallery.

    The trio was accused of murdering Nixon Pudding Smith on October 3, 2005. During their trial, the State led evidence that around 2 am, Smith and a friend left Club Amazon on the Eastern Main Road and were walking to their car which was parked along Henry Pierre Terrace, St Augustine. The friend, who can not be identified as he is in protective custody, served as the States main witnesses.

    He testified that when he and Smith reached their car and were about to get in, they saw three men exiting a grey Nissan B13 which was parked a short distance away. The witness said he jumped into a drain and was running towards the club for assistance when he heard gunshots. He said when he turned around he saw Smith lying on the road and three men were standing over him firing gunshots. He said he recognised the brothers but could not identify Antoine, who was later identified as the getaway driver.

    The witness said he ran towards the club to seek assistance and stopped a police vehicle on patrol. Smith was taken to hospital where he died. Elroy, Antoine and another man, Ashley George, were eventually arrested and charged with Smiths murder. They were discharged by a magistrate who upheld a no case submission in their preliminary inquiry.

    The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions then applied to a High Court judge who granted a judges warrant to rearrest them. Police were not able to execute the warrant on George as he could not be found since being discharged. Glenroy was only arrested by police and charged in 2012. The trio was represented by Michelle Solomon-Baksh and Trevor Clarke. State attorney Brent Winter prosecuted.


  3. #3
    Senior Member CnCP Legend Mike's Avatar
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    Jun 2015
    Death sentence for shooting murder of friend

    ANAND BOODRAM had been found guilty of murder in the shooting death of his friend Brian Maharaj.

    Maharaj, 26, was found with 50 shotgun cartridge fragments in the upper part of his body on Boxing Day back in 2006.

    The trial against Boodram, 37, was heard before Justice Malcolm Holdip in the San Fernando High Court.

    The State's case was led by attorneys Stacy Laloo-Chong and Shabaana Shah.

    The prosecution's case was that Boodram and Maharaj had an argument in the presence of Boodram's uncle. Boodram left Maharaj at his home liming with his uncle and another man and returned an hour later. The uncle's friend said he heard a loud explosion and saw Maharaj staggering and holding his chest and Boodram holding a shotgun.

    Boodram turned himself over to the police and took them to the hidden gun. He gave a statement that Maharaj approached him with a gun while he (Boodram) was tending to animals. He said that Maharaj hit him behind the neck and during a struggle he held onto to the gun which fired.

    Boodram said he became afraid and hid the firearm.

    Pathologist Hughvon Des Vignes however testified that there was no evidence that showed there was a struggle. He also said that Maharaj was shot from a distance.

    The jury took three hours to return the guilty verdict. Holdip sentenced Boodram to hang.

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  4. #4
    Senior Member CnCP Legend Mike's Avatar
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    Jun 2015
    Two sentenced to death for murder of pundit

    Two men were sentenced to death for the murder of a Chaguanas pundit on Thursday.

    Sunil Singh and Baldath Rampersad stood before Justice Carla Brown-Antoine at the Hall of Justice on Thursday, charged with the murder of 54-year-old pundit Kamal Harripersad, who was chopped to death during a robbery on August 3, 2007.

    Justice Brown-Antoine read the sentence of death by hanging after the foreman of a 12-member jury read the guilty verdicts, following three hours of deliberations on Thursday.

    Harripersad was at his home at St John’s Trace, Orange Field Road, with his wife and children when two men stormed the house and robbed, then murdered him.

    Singh and Rampersad were charged with the crime and appeared before a Chaguanas Magistrates’ Court, after a preliminary enquiry, in 2009.

    Testifying for the prosecution was Jagdeo Goolie Persad who said he was the driver of the car the killers used to get away in, after committing the crime.

    However, Persad turned hostile on the witness stand and was treated as a witness with an interest to serve.

    Representing the men were attorneys Sophia Chote SC, Michelle Solomon and Keith Scotland, while representing the State were attorneys from the Director of Public Prosecutions Nigel Pilgrim and Giselle Ferguson-Heller.

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  5. #5
    Administrator Aaron's Avatar
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    Nov 2015
    New Jersey, unfortunately
    AG aiming for swift justice as T&T moves to resume hangings

    Attorney General Faris Al Rawi says implementation of the death penalty cannot be done in an irresponsible and halfway manner. He said for that reason Government has presented a legislative framework which will accelerate the process.

    Al-Rawi said 11 of the 33 convicted killers on Death Row have had their sentences commuted because they have passed the five year Pratt and Morgan time frame. In such cases the sentence is automatically commuted to life imprisonment.

    Of the 22 persons remaining, he said: “We are tracking all of them for as long as it takes.”

    Government has sought the help of former AG Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj under whose tenure in 1999 Dole Chadee and his gang of eight were hanged for the murders of members of the Baboolal family in Williamsville.

    Al-Rawi said he is convinced hangings will be a deterrent to those who want to commit crimes.

    “If there is consequence and it is swiftly delivered it will occur to those who want to commit crime that maybe they should not,” he said.

    He said swift punishment are major deterrents to crime in Singapore and Saudi Arabia.

    The AG said a hanging will take place with the first person who finishes the appellate process before the five years is done.

    “My job is to apply the law and ensure it moves faster, as we are making everything work sharper and faster,” he said.

    This includes eliminating preliminary inquiries, introducing judge only hearings and ensuring the DPP’s office gets the necessary staff, the AG said.

    “That is why we agitated the Judicial and Legal Service Commission to get 32 attorneys for the DPP’s office,” he added.

    The AG explained that after the High Court sentences, the matter goes to the Appeal Court, then to the Privy Council and the person also has the right to petition the Inter-American Human Rights Commission.

    “All of that must finish before five years in keeping with Pratt and Morgan, so the High Court has to rush the clock,” he said.

    Asked whether he is concerned about the length of time the process takes in the local courts, Al Rawi said: “Our judicial process does not trouble me as much as the Privy Council. It takes six years right now.”

    He recalled that in one case the Inter-American Commission delivered a judgement after 11 years.

    Recently Al-Rawi said he had done a comparison of persons hanged when Maharaj was AG and found that the time between the Court of Appeal, the Privy Council and the Commission is seven months.

    Maharaj explained that he was able to fast-track matters because he spent every day monitoring what was happening.

    “If it became necessary for me to take a plane and go and see the Lord Chancellor (in the UK) I did it. I

    “f I had to go before international human rights bodies I did it because I demanded that the government was entitled to have its case or application heard very quickly and the international bodies should not deliberately delay these applications and frustrate us carrying out the laws of Trinidad and Tobago, and we were successful,” he said.

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  6. #6
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
    42 on Death Row...but why no hangings?

    42 prisoners are on death row. 12 of them cannot meet the hangman because of Pratt and Morgan.

    But for the rest of them, Attorney General Faris Al Rawi has vowed that Government will do everything to uphold the law in respect of the carrying out of the death penalty.

    He said the last administration "sat on its hands" and did not put any mechanism in place to ensure that the State complied with its responsibilities.

    Responding to a question in the House of Representatives, the Attorney General said almost the 12 prisoners who failed to meet the Pratt and Morgan, crossed the deadline during the period prior to September 2015 "because there was nothing done to implement the law [in respect of hanging]," he said.

    "The law (under this Government) will be upheld and the mechanism of tracking is afoot. And we literally have it on a case by case basis at the desk of the tracking mechanism in the office of the Attorney General," the Al Rawi said.

    He said under Pratt and Morgan once 5 years had been crossed, the prisoner cannot be hanged. "And therefore the only mechanism that the State could be involved in is to make sure that you quicken the appellate process from the State's end," he said.

    He said in 2010 to 2015 not a single case was tracked and as a result all matters fell to Pratt and Morgan and the law with respect to imposing the Death Penalty could not be applied.

    (source: Trinidad Express)
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

  7. #7
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
    Reinstate the death penalty
    For many years I have been writing letters to the media, as have many others, asking the various governments to reinstate the death penalty without success.

    It would appear that politicians here are quite satisfied to see the daily slaughter of our innocent citizens by the killers in our land. The Government keeps obeying Privy Council rulings where murders are concerned. The independence status of this nation seems to have no effect when dealing with these hardened criminals.

    Once again I am calling on the Government to reinstate the death penalty and begin the execution of those on death row in order to halt the galloping number of murders. I am positive this one action would curb the killings and another serious crimes.


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