CJ: Rethink death penalty as solution to crime
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