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Case details

Chandler (Appellant) v The State (Respondent) No 2 (Trinidad and Tobago)

Case ID: JCPC 2020/0051

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

Case summary

Issue

Is the mandatory death sentence in Trinidad and Tobago, pursuant to section 4 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1925, unconstitutional?

Facts

On 17 August 2011, Jay Chandler was convicted of murder and sentenced to death by hanging. On 12 December 2013, his conviction and sentence were upheld by the Court of Appeal of Trinidad and Tobago. On 2 August 2016, permission to appeal against conviction was granted by the Privy Council. On 12 March 2018, following a hearing on 16 January 2018, the appeal was dismissed by a majority of the Board (Lords Carnwath, Sumption and Reed; with Lords Kerr and Lloyd-Jones dissenting).

On 27 June 2018, the Caribbean Court of Justice ("CCJ") in Nervais v the Queen [2018] CCJ 19 (AJ) found that the mandatory death penalty in Barbados violated rights protected under the Constitution of Barbados, overturning the previous decision of the Privy Council in Boyce v the Queen [2005] 1 AC 400. In Boyce, the Board had held, by a majority of five-to-four, that the ‘savings clause’ in the Barbados Constitution immunised the mandatory death penalty from constitutional challenge.

On 18 February 2019 and 23 March 2020 respectively, permission to appeal against the mandatory death sentence for murder in Trinidad and Tobago was granted by the Privy Council in Burris v the State (JCPC 108/57) and Cohen v the State (JCPC 2019/56). The issue in those cases is whether, following the CCJ’s decision in Nervais, the Privy Council’s previous decision in Matthew v the State [2005] 1 AC 433, which upheld the mandatory death sentence in Trinidad and Tobago for similar reasons given in Boyce, should be reconsidered.

Mr Chandler now appeals to the Privy Council against sentence, arguing that, the mandatory death sentence for murder in Trinidad and Tobago is unconstitutional.

Parties

Appellant(s)

Jay Chandler

Respondent(s)

The State

Appeal

Justices

Lord Reed, Lord Hodge, Lord Lloyd-Jones, Lady Arden, Lord Sales, Lord Hamblen, Lord Stephens, Lord Hughes, Sir Nigel Davis

Hearing start date

2 November 2021

Hearing finish date

3 November 2021