CJ: Re­think death penalty as so­lu­tion to crime

The Star (St. Lucia) - - REGIONAL - By Rachael Espinet

Chief Jus­tice Ivor Archie says “com­mon sense” dic­tates that the death sen­tence was not the so­lu­tion to T&T’s spi­ralling crime sit­u­a­tion.

Archie was speak­ing at the cer­e­mo­nial open­ing of the 2015-2016 Law Term at the Con­vo­ca­tion Hall, Hall of Jus­tice, Port-of-Spain.

The mur­der toll for 2015 crossed the 300 toll on Tues­day (Septem­ber 15) af­ter a 12-yearold stu­dent was in­no­cently killed dur­ing gang-re­lated shoot­ing in the Gon­za­les, dis­trict. The Po­lice Ser­vice de­tec­tion rate for mur­ders stands at close to 10 per cent but the con­vic­tion rate is far less.

The last State-sanc­tioned ex­e­cu­tion took place in 1999, when Dole Chadee and his gang of eight were ex­e­cuted for the quadru­ple mur­ders of the Ba­boolal fam­ily. An­other man, An­thony Briggs, was also ex­e­cuted that year for the mur­der of a PH taxi driver. Since then, the leg­is­la­tion propos­ing to cat­e­gorise mur­ders into first and sec­ond de­grees has been laid in Par­lia­ment and de­bated but has never been ap­proved.

There has been a cho­rus of dis­sent by some in so­ci­ety to move away from the Privy Coun­cil, the coun­try’s high­est ap­pel­late court, in favour of the Caribbean Court of Jus­tice, af­ter land­mark rul­ing which deemed the manda­tory death penalty as un­con­sti­tu­tional.

“Over the past few years the num­ber of per­sons await­ing trial for mur­der has risen to more than 514. Com­mon sense tells me that by it­self the death penalty is not the so­lu­tion,” Archie said.

“Apart from the du­bi­ous­ness of its value as a de­ter­rent, do we really be­lieve, as­sum­ing that a sig­nif­i­cant frac­tion of those per­sons are found guilty, that we will

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