3rd Aug 2015 | News

Hunte and Khan -v- Trinidad and Tobago [2015] UKPC 33

Thomas Roe QC has succeeded in a constitutional appeal before the Privy Council, sitting as the highest court for Trinidad & Tobago. An enlarged panel of seven Justices of the Supreme Court (Lord Neuberger, Lady Hale, Lords Mance, Clarke, Sumption, Reed and Toulson) was convened to consider their challenge to two earlier decisions in which, they argued, the Privy Council had wrongly assumed a power which had not been conferred on it by the Constitution.

The background was the case of Pratt and Morgan v Attorney General of Jamaica [1994] 2 AC 1, in which the Privy Council decided that the phenomenon of prisoners spending years on “death row”, as happens in the US, must never take hold in those Commonwealth Caribbean countries which retain the capital penalty: to execute someone more than 5 years after conviction, it was held, would usually amount to “inhuman punishment” and thus be contrary to the human rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

See the judgment here and our update on this case here.

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