10 more convicted killers to be resentenced

File photo -
File photo -

TEN more convicted killers are expected to be resentenced by a High Court judge sitting in the Criminal Assizes bringing the total number to 32, so far.

In April, Justice Ricky Rahim - as part of a two-judge committee - selected those former death-row inmates, who had their sentences commuted to life and were entitled to be resentenced in keeping with a recent Privy Council ruling on commuted life sentences for murder convicts in the case of Naresh Boodram.

In the first group, Rahim issued orders for the 23, declaring that the imposition of life imprisonment was unconstitutional and unlawful.

On Thursday, orders were issued for ten more.

They were: Andrew Dottin, Kelvin Dial, Mark Teeluck, Marvin Boiselle, Fareyad Edoo, Rawle Ghany, Kieron Thomas, Ramsingh Jairam, George Constantine, and Evit Issac. They will now appear before a judge in the criminal division for resentencing.

Six of the ten were represented by attorney Mark Seepersad while three were represented by the Public Defenders Department and its deputy Raphael Morgan and one by attorney Alvin Brazer.

The Attorney General was represented by Nicole Yee Fung.

The first 23 who received orders for resentencing during the all-day hearing before Rahim were: Mervyn Parris, Mervyn Edmund, Kenrick London, Denny Baptiste, Parbatee Dass, Haniff Hillaire, Neil Hernandez, Peter Benjamin, Anthony Allan Garcia, Robert Taylor, Foster Serrette, Natasha De Leon (whose resentencing came up on Wednesday before Justice Hayden St Clair-Douglas); Samuel Winchester, Rodney Davis, Alfred Frederick, Steve Mungroo, Darren Roger Thomas, Gangadeen Tahaloo, Amir Bowlah, Phillip Chotolal, Wilson Prince, Bruce Herrera and Amir Mohammed.

In the Naresh Boodram case, the Privy Council had been asked to determine if a court can substitute a sentence other than life when the death sentence is commuted.

In 2007, Boodram filed to have his death sentence quashed and to be re-sentenced by the High Court.

His sentence was commuted to life on the basis that the court did not have the discretion to re-sentence him.

Boodram appealed and the Court of Appeal held that the High Court was not constrained to impose a sentence of life imprisonment and can re-sentence with clearly defined prison terms. It sent the case back to the High Court to consider an appropriate sentence.

The Court of Appeal’s ruling benefited scores of death row inmates at the time. The court held sentencing judges had a full range of sentencing powers available to them and the discretion to impose prison terms other than life.

Those considered for re-sentencing in April and on Thursday were those convicted prisoners who were sentenced to death before the Privy Council’s ruling in 2004 in Charles Matthews on the mandatory death penalty and who benefited from an earlier ruling of the London-based court in Balkissoon Roodal.

In Roodal, the Law Lords held that the death sentence was not mandatory. Matthews reaffirmed the death sentence. In 2008, in keeping with the ruling in Matthews, Justice Nolan Bereaux commuted the death sentences for six prisoners - Andrew Dottin, Kevin Dial, Takoor Ramcharan, Arnold Ramlogan, Beemal Ramnarace, and Sheldon Roach - in an action which other death row inmates benefitted, including those appearing before Rahim.


"10 more convicted killers to be resentenced"

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