Case details

Duncan and another (Appellants) v Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago (Respondent)

Case ID: JCPC 2018/0090

Jurisdiction: Court of Appeal of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

Case summary

Issue

Whether an error of the Court of Appeal of Trinidad and Tobago, resulting in the appellants serving a lengthier prison sentence than they should have done, amounts to a breach of section 4(a) of the Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago.

Facts

The appellants were convicted on 4 June 1999 for housebreaking, larceny and misbehaviour in public office. They were sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment. In 2001, the Court of Appeal quashed their convictions for housebreaking and larceny but affirmed their sentence of imprisonment. It is agreed by both parties that the Court of Appeal failed to consider, as it was required to under section 49(1) of the Supreme Court of Judicature Act Chapter 4:01, whether the appellants’ sentence should be backdated to the date of their conviction instead of starting to run from the date of the appeal. As a result of this error, it is agreed by both parties that the appellants were served 29 months longer in prison than the sentences passed upon them permitted or required. The appellants brought the present claim in March 2011 seeking compensation and declaratory relief that they had been unlawfully imprisoned contrary to section 4(a) of the Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago. The claim was rejected in 2013 and their appeal to the Court of Appeal was dismissed in 2017. The appellants now appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

Parties

Appellant(s)

Duncan and another

Respondent(s)

Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago

Appeal

Justices

Lord Briggs, Lord Sales, Lord Hamblen, Lord Leggatt, Lord Stephens

Hearing start date

02 Feb 2021

Hearing finish date

02 Feb 2021