[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at smu.edu
Thu Apr 26 16:31:14 CDT 2012
Trinidad wants to withdraw from Britain's Privy Council
Trinidad and Tobago plans to stop sending appeals in criminal cases to
Britain's Privy Council, a move that could make it easier for death sentences
to be carried out in the Caribbean country.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said the government will submit
legislation to parliament to abolish appeals to the London-based Privy Council,
the final court of appeal for former and current British territories in the
The jurisdiction of the Privy Council in criminal appeals is "a matter of grave
concern," Persad-Bissessar told parliament late on Wednesday, adding it
"affects the dispensation of criminal justice at a time of high crime in our
"The situation has been complicated by the issue of the death penalty on which
the Privy Council, reflecting contemporary English mores and jurisprudence, has
been rigorous in upholding Caribbean appeals in death sentence cases," she
A former British colony, Trinidad and Tobago has faced criticism from human
rights groups over its use of executions for some violent crimes. Capital
punishment, however, enjoys wide support among Trinidadians who view it as a
The energy rich, twin-island country is battling a high murder rate. Police say
it is linked to drug trafficking in Trinidad and Tobago, a trans-shipment point
for South American cocaine headed to Europe and the United States.
Last year, Persad-Bissessar imposed a four-month state of emergency to crack
down on drug-related crime and gang activity.
Under the proposed legislation, appeals in criminal cases would be handled by
the Caribbean Court of Justice - based in Port of Spain and now the final court
of appeal for several Caribbean countries.
The last execution held in Trinidad and Tobago was in 1999 and involved a man
found guilty of murdering a taxi driver. Earlier that year, nine members of a
criminal gang were hanged for murder.
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