THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE PRIVY COUNCIL DECISION IN CHANDLER

On 16 May 2022  a 9 judge panel of the Privy Council gave judgment in the important constitutional case of Chandler v The State (No 2).[1] In Chandler the Privy Council upheld the mandatory death penalty, following its earlier decision in Matthew v The State.[2] The Privy Council, therefore, rejected the Court of Caribbean Justice (CCJ)’s approach in three recent decisions: Nervais v R,[3] McEwan v AG of Guyana[4]and  Bisram v DPP,[5] which it handed down a few weeks before Chandler.

The Privy Council accepted in Chandler hat the mandatory death penalty in Trinidad breached the constitutional right prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment.[6]  The key issue, however, was whether the mandatory death penalty in Trinidad under s 4 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1925 was immune from constitutional challenge because the 1925 Act pre-dates the 1976 Constitution and must be treated as “saved law”.

You can read Richard Clayton’s full article here.


Richard Clayton QC