19th Jun 2023 | News

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Section 1 of the Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago provides that Trinidad and Tobago shall be “a sovereign democratic state”.

Is it consistent with this constitutional guarantee that the law criminalizes any speech which has a tendency to excite disaffection against the government of Trinidad and Tobago, or raise discontent among its inhabitants?

On Tuesday 20 June the Privy Council will be asked to decide whether the Sedition Act, a colonial-era law first enacted in 1920, is consistent with the republican Constitution of 1976 and its guarantee of a democratic state.

A second question is whether, to the extent that the Sedition Act infringes the fundamental rights protected by s.4 of the Constitution, it is saved as “existing law” by s.6. The Privy Council will be asked whether the judge at first instance was right to find that the Sedition Act was so dangerously broad and uncertain that it lacked the quality of law and therefore was not saved as existing law.

The case is Maharaj & Central Broadcasting Service Ltd v. Attorney General of Trinidad & Tobago. You will be able to watch the proceedings live from 10:30am at https://www.jcpc.uk/live/court-03.html .

Peter Knox KC and Robert Strang are acting for the Appellants, along with a team of attorneys from Trinidad: Senior Counsel Ramesh L Maharaj leading Kiel Taklalsingh, Dinesh Rambally and Stefan Ramkissoon.


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