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Sunday 25 August 2019
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AG: We will apply hanging law

ATTORNEY General Faris Al-Rawi yesterday signaled Government’s intention to introduce measures to apply the death penalty in relation to convicted murderers.

During the Budget debate, as he gave an overview of plans for his Ministry, Al-Rawi disclosed that he has already established a “tracking committee” to monitor murder cases and suggested that measures could be introduced to bring about “institutional strengthening” in order to open the door to the hangman once more.

“Madam Speaker, I wish to say, in relation to murders, I have established a tracking committee and of the matters that are now in the Assizes for trial, Trinidad and Tobago can expect that there will be an explanation as to why people have not faced the hangman,” the Attorney General told MPs gathered at the International Waterfront Centre, Wrightson Road, Portof- Spain. “There will be an explanation when they do face the hangman, because if you have the laws of Trinidad and Tobago they must be applied and we intend to apply them with due process. But that due process can only happen by way of institutional strengthening.” Al-Rawil gave no further details.

The PNM and the opposition People’s Partnership have taken similar stances in relation to the death penalty in the past, with both in support of hanging.

However an attempt by the People’s Partnership to pass legislation to categorise murder cases into different classes and to impose the death penalty in only the most grave of cases was shut down by the then Opposition PNM in 2011.

The PNM said the bill was too unwieldy to implement and would open the door to legal challenges.

Hanging remains the law but is not implemented because of common-law stipulations which limit the time-frame within which capital punishment can occur. Protracted delays in the legal system, involving a multi-tiered system of criminal justice as well as time-consuming appeals to local and international bodies, have often meant the timeframe for a person to hang lapses. No executions have taken place since 1999.

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