This morning the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council handed down judgment in the constitutionally important appeal of Chandler v The State (No 2) (Trinidad and Tobago)  UKPC 19.
Sitting as nine-member panel, owing to the significance of the case, the Privy Council dismissed the appeal, affirmed the decision in Matthew v The State  1 AC 433, and declined to follow the reasoning of two recent decisions of the Caribbean Court of Justice. Howard Stevens QC, Tom Poole QC, Fyard Hosein SC (of the Bar of Trinidad and Tobago) and Hannah Fry acted for the Respondent, instructed by Charles Russell Speechlys LLP.
The central issue in the case was whether the mandatory death penalty in Trinidad and Tobago, pursuant to section 4 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1925, is unconstitutional. Previously, in Matthew, by a majority, the Privy Council held that the mandatory death sentence for murder, which was an existing law in Trinidad and Tobago when the Constitution came into force, was prevented by the savings law clause in section 6 of the Constitution from being unconstitutional.
Unanimously dismissing the appeal, the Privy Council held that the Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago saves existing laws, including the mandatory death penalty, from constitutional challenge. After considering the principle of stare decisis in detail, the Privy Council held that here was no basis for overruling Matthew, and in fact good reasons not to do so:
Please subscribe here
November 8, 2022
November 21, 2022