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To Hang or Not to Hang

Thursday, January 2, 2014

At the time of writing, the murder rate for 2013 stood at 403 with three more days to go in the current year. Some people, including law enforcement officials, might claim success in the number of homicides since this year’s figure is less than the number in 2008 when murders climbed to 550. Many social and religious activists insist that T&T reinstitute hanging for capital offences. But some in our midst think of them as blood-thirsty citizens.


According to the law of T&T, “Every person convicted of murder shall suffer death according to Section 4 of the Offences Against the Person Act.” The Criminal Procedure Act, Chapter 12:02 at Section 57 provides: 



“Every warrant for the execution of any prisoner under sentence of death shall be under the hand and seal of the President, and shall be directed to the Marshal, and shall be carried into execution by such Marshal or his assistant at such time and place as mentioned in the warrant; and the warrant shall be in the form set out as Form A in the Second Schedule…” The law in T&T is that death by hanging for capital offences can take place. 


But because of certain restrictions by the Privy Council, our highest court, based in London, it has become almost impossible to invoke this law that is being supported by approximately 90 per cent of our population. The Privy Council itself has banned the death penalty at home and has lobbied its former colonies, like T&T, to follow suit.


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