Skip to main content arrow-down arrow-tail-right arrow-triangle-right calendar camera compass download email eye facebook flag mail phone pin play send square-right tag twitter youtube badge message

DPP Assists in Quashing of Death Sentence for Sole Female Death Row Inmate in Trinidad

  • News
  • 27 Mar 2014

Ramdeen v The State

The death sentence of the sole female inmate awaiting execution in Trinidad has been quashed by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.  Julia Ramdeen was convicted of murder on 29 July 2008 and had been held under a sentence of death until the Privy Council handed down its judgment to her appeal on 27 March 2014.

The Death Penalty Project assisted Ramdeen, both in her appeal against conviction, and also with her invitation to the Privy Council to quash her death sentence, because the time that had elapsed since the sentence was first imposed now rendered it inhuman punishment and therefore unconstitutional.  Ramdeen, however, had not yet commenced local constitutional proceedings in the Supreme Court to commute her sentence.

Whilst the Privy Council dismissed her appeal against conviction, it ordered that her sentence of death be commuted to one of life imprisonment.

The Privy Council found that, ordinarily, it has no jurisdiction to grant relief on a constitutional motion that should be filed and determined in the local court, rather than addressed for the first time on appeal.  However, as a matter of “fairness and convenience”, when an appellant is legitimately appealing against conviction or sentence – and that process results in an excessive delay – then the Privy Council has the power to order that the sentence be substituted for one of life imprisonment at the appeal hearing, in order to save the delay, cost and court time involved in a having to bring a fresh motion.

This decision should particularly assist impecunious and unrepresented appellants, by removing some of the procedural hurdles to obtaining the constitutional relief that they are entitled to.

Edward Fitzgerald QC and Ruth Brander, barristers at Doughty Street Chambers, were instructed pro bono in this case.

 

Related links:

The Times Law Reports, “Jurisdiction to Commute Death Sentence”

Latest news

The Kalisher Trust Legal Internship - Applications now open
Read More
World Day Against the Death Penalty - Women and the Death Penalty
Read More
People may change mind about death penalty, but government?
Read More
Dismantle the gallows! Sierra Leone becomes the latest country to abolish the death penalty
Read More
Sentenced to death for killing her abusive ex-boyfriend as he attacked her: Aminata's story shows the importance of considering mitigating circumstances
Read More
New research revealing the attitudes of Indonesians towards the death penalty provides new data that could facilitate fresh discourse on the future of capital punishment in the country
Read More
A punishment reserved for the poor and marginalised? New study shines light on the profiles and experiences of death row inmates in Bangladesh
Read More
The Death Penalty Project at CogX Festival 2021
Read More
Guyana’s Court of Appeal will today hear a landmark case that could see the death penalty abolished
Read More
Lawyer: Popular support a flawed reason for death penalty in Japan
Read More
[JOINT STATEMENT] UN Crime Congress: abolition of the death penalty must be an integral part of crime prevention programmes and criminal justice reforms
Read More
Malaysian man has death sentence quashed as judgment in Singapore makes judicial history
Read More
British national received 24 strokes of the cane for drug offences in Singapore
Read More
New report finds Zimbabwean opinion leaders support abolition of the death penalty
Read More
Privy Council overturns murder conviction of unrepresented man who faced the death penalty in The Bahamas
Read More

Stay up-to-date with our work