Albert Edwards who was convicted of murder in 1988, has been freed by the Trinidad Court of Appeal.
After a prolonged period of eight years, the President referred Edwards’ conviction back to the Court of Appeal for review, after it was brought to his attention that the Justice of the Peace – who had testified against Edwards at trial – had been convicted of corruption. Former Justice of the Peace, Farouk Ali, had been found guilty in 1998 of accepting bribes to interfere with criminal proceedings.
Edwards, now 48, spent 28 years behind bars, which is “far in excess of any sentence that would have been properly imposed” if he had been convicted of the correct offence, said His Honour Mr Justice Weekes. Substituting Edward’s murder conviction for manslaughter, the Court went on to order his immediate release.
In April 2007 Edwards petitioned the President to re-open his case after Ali’s dishonourable activities became known and in August 2015, the President agreed to exercise his statutory power to refer his case back to the courts.
Reviewing the whole case, the Court of Appeal found that although Edwards had participated in a robbery during which a storekeeper was shot, there was no evidence that Edwards himself had intended to kill or cause any serious harm.
Edwards described himself as “very happy” after the court’s decision on 28th April when he was reunited with his family, including a daughter who was just two when he was first incarcerated.
Related media articles
“Laventille man freed after 28 years behind bars”, Trinidad Daily Express, 28th April 2016
“Oh Happy Day”, Trinidad and Tobago Newsday, 29th April 2016
Note to Editors
Douglas Mendes QC, Anthony Bullock and Imran Ali of Chancery Chambers, Trinidad & Tobago represented Mr Edwards pro bono, before the Court of Appeal. The Death Penalty Project represented Mr Edwards before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in 1997 and since 2007, has sought to have his matter re-opened. Richard Thomas and Daniella Waddoup of Doughty Street Chambers were instructed and advised on a pro bono basis.