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). In Chandler the Privy Council upheld the mandatory death penalty, following its earlier decision in Matthew v The State. The Privy Council, therefore, rejected the Court of Caribbean Justice (CCJ)’s approach in three recent decisions: Nervais v R, McEwan v AG of Guyanaand Bisram v DPP, 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. 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.