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23 Years Being Convicted of Murder, Privy Council Orders Immediate Release of Prisoner Serving Life Imprisonment

  • News
  • 14 Jul 2011

In a judgment delivered on 6th July 2011, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council allowed the appeal of Mr. Rajendra Krishna, a prisoner serving a life sentence in Trinidad & Tobago, and ordered his immediate release.

The Death Penalty Project assisted Mr. Krishna in his appeal to the Privy Council.

More than 23 years ago, in January 1988, Mr. Krishna was convicted in the High Court of shooting and killing Mycee Jagmohan during the course of an attempted burglary and was sentenced to death. His co-accused was acquitted.

In December 1995, after 7 years as a condemned prisoner, Mr. Krishna’s death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment as a result of the excessive time he had spent on death row. His appeal against his conviction to the Court of Appeal of Trinidad was refused on 5th October 1995 and some 12 years later, the Death Penalty Project agreed to assist Mr. Krishna in taking his case to the Privy Council in order to challenge his conviction.

In their judgment last week, the Privy Council allowed Mr. Krishna’s appeal on the grounds that there were significant irregularities at trial, which inevitably affected the safety of his conviction. The Privy Council noted that as Mr. Krishna had already spent 23 years in custody, no retrial should take place and Mr. Krishna should be immediately released from prison.

Edward Fitzgerald QC from Doughty Street Chambers and Helen Law from Matrix Chambers were instructed pro bono by Simons Muirhead & Burton to represent Mr. Krishna in the Privy Council.

Saul Lehrfreund and Parvais Jabbar, Executive Directors, The Death Penalty Project

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