Problems identified in the current death penalty regimes in Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados are outlined below. Click on the links to read more about these issues:
- Miscarriages of justice
- Police investigation techniques
- Trial proceedings
- Access to experts
- Learning/Intellectual disability and mental health
- Delays and ‘death row phenomenon’
- Doctrine of Joint Enterprise and the Felony Murder Rule
- Method of execution
Miscarriages of Justice
Because the death penalty is an irreversible punishment, the issue of innocent persons being sentenced to death and executed is one which has caused considerable concern.
Saul Lehrfreund (2015) has written about the problem of wrongful convictions and miscarriages of justice in death penalty trials. He singles out cases from the Caribbean, which demonstrate serious issues in the death penalty process in these countries. In recognition that persons under sentence of death should be afforded special protections, because of the finality of the death penalty, various safeguards and checks have been incorporated in many retentionist countries. However, Lehrfreund argues that Caribbean nations do not provide the requisite level of protection in capital cases.
Lehrfreund points to the very high number of successful appeals to both the Court of Appeal and the Privy Council to demonstrate that the standards required in capital cases are not being met in Trinidad and Tobago or Barbados.
A miscarriage of justice can arise from failures at any point from arrest, to conviction and sentence. A breach of any of the rights found under the various human rights instruments to which Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados are party can lead to a miscarriage of justice.
A miscarriage of justice can arise from failure in police procedure. This section outlines some of the failings within the police investigatory practices of Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados.
In their Report on the Criminal Justice System in Trinidad and Tobago, Desmond Allum and Gregory Delzin (2003) outlined serious flaws in the procedures for police investigation in Trinidad and Tobago. Failings included:
- The practice of detaining suspects in police custody without informing the suspect that they were under arrest;
- The need for clarification of arrest and detention procedures in the form of a law which codifies this practice. Allum and Delzin highlight key issues within this such as clarification of the time limits persons can be kept in custody, ensuring suspects were aware of their rights, and keeping a custody log of suspects’ detention;
- Access to legal representation while in police custody. The authors argue that the first few hours in police custody are crucial and most suspects have no access to legal advice in this period;
- Practices around oppressive police questioning and allegations regarding statements made under coercion are serious and ongoing. It is a fundamental principle of the common law that statements should be voluntary. Many defendants also claim that their statements were entirely made up by police officers. Although Justices of the Peace are required to swear on the authenticity of statements, there has been a problem with JPs not being present for statements, not explaining the meaning of statements to the suspects, as well as an ongoing issue regarding corruption among JPs;
- There is a prosecution tendency in Trinidad and Tobago to rely on oral statements. Therefore, there is significant incentive to police officers to produce confession evidence. Police officers can give oral testimony in court as to a defendant’s alleged statements. In these cases it is common for police officers to say that written statements were either not taken, or were lost.
- Cautions are often not read out to suspects, or are not read out in full. Capital defendants frequently allege that they were not aware of their rights, and were not aware that they were under no obligation to answer questions. Allum and Delzin say that judges tend to believe police officers’ versions of events when such allegations are made.
- In 1993, the Metropolitan Police in London conducted an inquiry into the police in Trinidad and Tobago and found widespread corruption, including cover-ups of extrajudicial killings (Seaby, 1993, cited in Allum and Delzin, 2003).
- More recent research has confirmed continuing problems with the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service. Amnesty International (2006) criticised the number of deaths in police custody, and the failure to adequately investigate these. Pino and Johnson (2009) found continuing issues with police deviance: inadequate crime control and protection of citizens, maltreatment of citizens, capricious responses to criminals and bias towards less serious crimes, and police corruption and collusion with criminals.
Saul Lehrfreund (2015) has pointed out that when police services are guided by the English common law from the 19th century, and must respond to escalating rates of violence while remaining under-resourced, inevitable difficulties ensue regarding investigative practice and procedures. The procedures and laws in place cannot adequately meet the difficulties of unreliable confessions and the identification of suspects. As the majority of murder trials in Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados hinge on confessions and witness testimony, this presents a huge problem to the effective administration of justice in these countries.
There have been a number of high profile cases which have demonstrated how failures in police procedures have prejudiced the right to a fair trial.
Dookran v The State (2007) (UKPC), a Trinidadian case, demonstrated a failure in police investigations including in the collection of evidence. The prosecution case rested largely on incriminating statements made to the police by Chitrah Dookran, and her mother Malharri Dookran. However, Chitrah alleged that her statements were involuntary and were made only after threats and inducements. The trial judge admitted the statement, and although the Court of Appeal held that the statements should not have been admissible, they nevertheless held that there had been no miscarriage of justice. The Privy Council in contrast, ruled that this was a clear miscarriage of justice. Malharri Dookran, an older woman with intellectual difficulties and a history of domestic abuse, also alleged that she had been kept in custody for 14 hours with food, and had also signed statements after threats of violence were made against her. Both women were subsequently released from death row.
In addition to the police investigative procedures, and the serious problem of the inclusion of statements of doubtful veracity in court, there are many issues with trial proceedings in capital cases also. One of the key issues has been the inadequate access to legal for capital defendants.
Lehrfreund (2015) claims that the provision of legal aid and the right to legal advice while in custody is often illusory, more ‘theoretical’ than tangible in many Caribbean countries. Lawyers are often inexperienced and ill-prepared, and more often than not junior barristers defend defendants in capital trials. The poverty of most capital defendants compounds this difficulty.
Bulkan (2015) notes that the provision of legal aid is patchy, and in Trinidad and Tobago, can only be availed of for matters related to the trial, leaving a plethora of essential tasks uncovered. Bulkan argues that there is no ‘meaningful access’ to legal aid for defendants.
In addition, legal aid is also only provided in criminal cases and does not cover constitutional issues. Therefore, if an appeal is dismissed or rejected by the Privy Council, a prisoner can apply to the High Court on a constitutional issue, such as relating to delay or other issues. However, legal aid is not generally available for constitutional issues. Further compounding access to justice, the state has no obligation to facilitate an appeal to the Privy Council in London. Therefore capital defendants must rely on pro bono lawyers.
Allum and Delzin (2003) identify serious failings regarding the provision of legal aid in Trinidad and Tobago: ‘There has been a real problem with the quality of representation of those accused of murder in Trinidad which is linked directly to the low levels of legal aid remuneration.’ As highlighted, this often results in ill-prepared and inexperienced counsel for defendants.
‘Defence counsel are often inexperienced and are inadequately remunerated. This results in defendants being poorly represented and available defences not being investigated or presented adequately. This deficiency is especially apparent in the early stages after arrest, when no lawyers are present and defendants are coerced into making admissions.’
(Allum and Delzin, 2003)
As legal aid usually lapses following the trial, prisoners are then expected to prepare appeal documents without assistance. In addition to the problem of not being familiar with the procedures, many capitally convicted prisoners are also illiterate, and some have mental health issues. Only when the appeal is listed is legal aid again available. However, counsel is often appointed days before the appeal is heard, and very little can be done in such a short time period.
In addition to the problem of legal aid, key materials are often kept from the defence. Despite an obligation of full disclosure of relevant materials, including unused material, from prosecution to defence this is rare in practice. Allum and Delzin (2003) write that ‘there is not yet a culture of disclosure’ in the prosecution service. Failure to disclose all relevant materials to the defence seriously handicaps their ability to mount a defence.
In Winston Solomon v The State (Unreported, Court of Appeal of Trinidad and Tobago, 11 June 1999) the Court of Appeal held that the prosecution failure to disclose that the defendant had a history of mental illness was a material non-disclosure.
There has also been a recurring failure to disclose witness statements that supported the defendant’s case.
Many experts are also critical of how poverty, which is common to the majority of capital defendants, can prejudice access to justice. One case which particularly illustrates how poverty can prejudice a defendant is the Trinidadian case of Boodram v The State ( 1 AC 12). Ann-Marie Boodram was convicted for the murder of her husband. In her trial, she was assigned several lawyers before one was finally secured; this lawyer failed to object to deposition evidence from a dead witness, failed to object to very doubtful confessions, and did not raise an allegation of rape by a police officer. Despite these failings, Boodram’s appeal to the Court of Appeal was dismissed. However, the Privy Council held that the gross incompetence of her defence counsel amounted to a miscarriage of justice. Lord Steyn spoke of the ‘extraordinary failure’ of her counsel, citing it as ‘the worst case of the failure of counsel to carry out his duties in a criminal case that their Lordships have come across.’ Perhaps the most egregious failing was that Boodram’s defence counsel did not know for much of the trial, that it was in fact a retrial.
Ultimately, many of the issues in this case stemmed from the under-resourcing of the police service, the mental health sector, and legal aid. Taking these realities into account, Lord Anthony Gifford (2009) argued that ‘in any system of justice, and especially in the under-resourced systems in our region, the innocent will be executed.’
Access to Experts
A defendant’s ability to have a fair trial is also significantly prejudiced by a lack of resources including the access to experts. As prosecutors rely increasingly on expert witnesses, barriers to access for defendants puts defence counsel in a very disadvantaged position.
The Trinidadian case of Indravani Ramjattan v the State ((1999) 54 WLR 383) demonstrates how poverty, class, and gender can prejudice a capital defendant and underscores the importance of access to experts. Ramjattan was convicted, along with two co-defendants, of the murder of her husband. Evidence of Ramjattan’s mental state at the time of the killing, however, was only admitted after her final appeal had been dismissed. When this evidence emerged it told of a life of horrendous abuse that Ramjattan had suffered at the hands of her husband. It was revealed at the retrial that Ramjattan had not been able to present this evidence originally because she had not the money nor the opportunity to be assessed by a psychiatrist – in fact, it was not routine to secure such assessments for defendants prior to trial in Trinidad and Tobago at all.
Other issues in the Ramjattan case also raised concerns, for example, she had no counsel at her arrest or indeed for a year after this. Ramjattan had been pregnant when she was arrested and miscarried in prison, but received no medical treatment.
These cases therefore demonstrate the inability of many capital defendants to access experts. The use of expert evidence is crucial in many capital trials, however through lack of money or opportunity, many go without. There are therefore issues in the resources and availability of experts within the capital trial. Bulkan (2015) argues that defendants are at a serious disadvantage when it comes to securing the best expert, as they are prohibited by cost.
In the case of Attorney General of Barbados v Gibson ( CCJ 3 AJ) in the Caribbean Court of Justice, it was held that ‘equality of arms’ was crucially important. In this case, Frank Gibson argued that he had a constitutional right to be provided by the state with the adequate facilities needed for his defence. Gibson claimed that access to an expert, a forensic odontologist to examine bite marks, was of central importance to his defence. The Caribbean Court of Justice agreed; Gibson was entitled to be provided with such an expert, the cost to be borne by the state, due to Gibson’s lack of means.
In the Caribbean Court of Justice, it was held that failure to provide Gibson with access to the expert witnesses he required to make his defence was a breach of his right to a fair trial. The Solicitor General in the case had initially denied such access to expert witnesses because of a fear it would ‘open up the floodgates’. However, the Caribbean Court of Justice outlined the prejudice based on financial status this implied.
‘If Gibson were a wealthy man he would be able to procure the services of someone who can assist him…. But due to Gibson’s lack of means it is clear that he would be severely and unfairly handicapped in conducting a meaningful defence to the allegations made against him.’
In the interests of securing a fair trial, and in recognition of the goal of establishing truth at the trial, the Court held that Gibson should have access to an expert, and the cost be met by the state.
Learning/Intellectual Disability and Mental Health
The various human rights organisations which set minimum standards for the implementation of the death penalty all make reference to the categories of person that shall not be subject to capital punishment. These categories include persons with intellectual disabilities and those suffering from mental ill-health.
In 1989, the ‘Safeguards Guaranteeing Protection of the Rights of those Facing the Death Penalty’ adopted the stipulation: ‘Eliminating the death penalty for persons suffering from mental retardation or extremely limited mental competence, whether at the stage of sentence or execution.’ (Resolution 1989/64)
UN Resolutions adopted by the Commission on Human Rights such as Resolution 1999/61, have also urged retentionist states to refrain from imposing the death penalty on ‘a person suffering from any form of mental disorder.’ This included both intellectual disability and mental health issues.
In 2005, the UN Commission on Human Rights again called on retentionist countries ‘not to impose the death penalty on a person suffering from any mental or intellectual disabilities or to execute such a person’ (see Resolution 2005/59).
The issue posed by persons with intellectual disability and/or mental ill-health in the criminal justice system is stark, particularly in countries in which the mental health services are poorly resourced. Lack of resources and expertise can hugely prejudice capital defendants, as noted above. Bulkan (2015) has written that the countries of the Commonwealth Caribbean tend to have little legislative framework underpinning the mental health sector. This has led to a significant number of cases in which persons are capitally tried and convicted without the adequate protections being present.
In the Trinidadian case of Stephen Robinson v the State (CATT Crim, 12/2009, 29 July 2010) the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal of Robinson, a man who had been destitute and homeless when he killed a security guard. Although medical evidence was offered that Robinson had been diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1984, and two examining psychiatrists said he had been suffering from an episode when the killing happened, and although there was no contrary evidence offered, the jury still rejected the expert evidence. This was described by the Court of Appeal as ‘unfortunate’, which suggested that the unfairness of the outcome could be remedied by a grant of mercy (see Bulkan, 2015, for more on this).
However, in the Privy Council ( UKPC 34), the Board were very critical of the original trial. The Board noted that Robinson had not been tried until seven years after the killing, due to reasons relating to his medical history. The Board held that this history of mental illness was not ‘properly deployed in support of the assertion of diminished responsibility’. It was claimed that Robinson’s history of serious mental illness, including periods of hospitalisation, emerged almost accidentally through the trial. The Board held that the conviction for murder was unsafe. The murder conviction was quashed, and as the state did not seek a retrial, a conviction for manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility was substituted.
In Nigel Brown v the State ( UKPC 2), another Trinidadian case, Brown was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. New expert evidence threw doubt on his fitness to plead due to an assessment that he suffered from an intellectual impairment within the range of learning disability. The Privy Council held that in light of this new evidence, the conviction was potentially unsafe, and the case should be returned to the Court of Appeal. In the Court of Appeal, Brown’s death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, to serve a minimum of 22 years.
In the Trinidadian case of Indravani Ramjattan v the State ((1999) 54 WLR 383), evidence of Ramjattan’s mental state was not admitted in the original trial, also outlined above. Ramjattan had been the victim of years of abuse at the hands of her husband, whom she had been convicted of murdering. The retrial was the first time that evidence of battered woman syndrome had been introduced in the Commonwealth Caribbean. Following the introduction of evidence of such a mental disorder, the Court of Appeal of Trinidad and Tobago quashed Ramjattan’s conviction and sentence, and substituted a conviction of manslaughter instead.
The lack of resources in these cases resulted in a failure of capital defendants to access experts and to present evidence regarding mental state, something crucial to their defence. Amnesty International (2015) reported that in 2014, people with mental or intellectual disabilities remained under sentence of death in Trinidad and Tobago.
A recent Privy Council judgment in the case of Lester Pitman and Neil Hernandez (available here) dealt with the issue of intellectual disability – the Council held that it was unconstitutional under the Trinidadian Constitution because it constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. However, the Council also held that because Trinidad retains the mandatory death sentence for murder, defendants could still be sentenced to death even though they had intellectual disabilities. The Privy Council ruled that in these cases the condemned must rely on the mercy of the President.
Delays and ‘Death Row Phenomenon’
Long delays in the criminal justice process have also grounded successful human rights challenge to the death penalty. Delays between arrest and eventual trial in Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados can be very lengthy, commonly running into years. In Trinidad and Tobago, there is no requirement that a trial be conducted within a reasonable time. Therefore, defendants who seek a stay of proceedings must demonstrate that the delay will have a prejudicial effect on the trial (Allum and Delzin, 2003).
The ‘death row phenomenon’ was identified in a case before the European Court of Human Rights, Soering v UK (161 ECtHR, ser. A, 1989). This phenomenon refers to the lengthy periods many condemned persons spend on death row. The European Court of Human Rights held in Soering that this amounted to a breach of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibited torture and inhuman or degrading treatment.
In Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados, since the judgment of Pratt and Morgan, which dealt with the appeal to the Privy Council of two Jamaican men, the issue of delay has been dealt with by a five year time limit within which persons sentenced to death must be executed. Pratt and Morgan is perhaps the case with the most enduring legacy in the field of death penalty litigation from the Caribbean to the Privy Council.
In Pratt and Morgan v Attorney General for Jamaica ( 4 All ER 769) the Privy Council held that the length of time the condemned men had spent on death row constituted inhuman or degrading punishment or treatment. The appellants in this case had spent over 14 years under sentence of death. However, the Board held that even a period of two years could in some cases give rise to the finding. The Board concluded that countries which retained the death penalty had a ‘responsibility of ensuring that execution follows as swiftly as practicable after sentence allowing a reasonable time for appeal and consideration of reprieve.’
Following this judgment, many on death row had their sentences substituted for sentences of life imprisonment. In Trinidad and Tobago, over half of death sentenced prisoners had their sentence commuted (Hood and Seemungal, 2009).
Petitioning refers to the rights of prisoners under sentence of death to petition various bodies for review and judgment on their case. Arif Bulkan (2015) writes that, ‘When a country accedes to certain international treaties, its citizens receive the right to petition the treaty body directly regarding a breach of a right affirmed by the treaty.’
Petitioning has caused conflict and has provoked irritation among governments, when the delays inherent in the process created a substantial barrier to the carrying out of death sentences within five years of date of conviction. The delays in the process have frustrated the five-year deadline imposed following the Pratt and Morgan judgment.
The First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights guarantees a right of petition for citizens to the UN Human Rights Committee for those who allege their rights have been violated.
In frustration at the problem caused by delays, in 1999 Trinidad and Tobago withdrew from the First Optional Protocol of the ICCPR and then re-joined with a reservation on this right of petition. However, the Human Rights Committee held that this reservation was invalid, causing Trinidad and Tobago to withdraw again from the Protocol in 2000.
This issue has consistently proved contentious. For example, the execution of Glen Ashby in Trinidad and Tobago in 1994, occurring just one month before the five-year limit was due to expire, and while Ashby still had appeals and petitions pending, was controversial. Ashby’s execution provoked a lot of criticism, and the Privy Council later held that condemned persons were entitled to see the completion of any appeal or petition process regarding their sentence.
The question of mercy is considered after conviction and sentence (see ‘Mercy and Review of Life Sentences‘). Mercy is an executive function, and the various human rights instruments hold that everyone is entitled to the consideration of their case in this regard. Typically, when mercy is being considered, the entirety of the condemned prisoner’s case is reviewed by a committee which then advises the head of state on whether the sentence should be carried out, or whether the condemned should have sentence of death commuted to a lesser sentence, typically life imprisonment.
In Trinidad and Tobago, this is provided for in Sections 87-89 of the Constitution. This holds that cases are to be considered by an Advisory Committee, which passes on advice to the Minister of National Security. The Minister can choose to follow these recommendations or not. The Minister then passes on his recommendation to the President, who must follow this advice.
In Barbados, the Privy Council of Barbados sit as the Mercy Committee. Under section 78(3) of the Constitution, the Governor General of Barbados receives the file of persons condemned to death. This is forwarded to the Privy Council of Barbados which then advises the Governor General as to mercy.
Historically, the condemned person was held to have no right to see what material was considered at this stage (De Freitas v Benny (1975) 27 WLR 318), as Bulkan (2015) notes, this was ‘based on the view that mercy was not a legal right but an act of grace.’
However, in Lewis v Attorney General of Jamaica ((2000) 57 WIR 275), the Privy Council held that condemned persons had a right to know what material was being considered by the body tasked with reviewing their sentence, they also had a right to advance notice of when their case was being considered so that they or their counsel could put together representations which the committee had to consider. The Board argued that the process of pardoning should be subject to standards of fairness and be subject also to review. The Board also held that when petitions or appeals were before various human rights bodies awaiting review, the domestic body had to wait until such reports were received before making its recommendation on whether sentence should be carried out. There is also a right to have reasons given if the decision departs from a recommendation of an international human rights body.
Trinidad and Tobago has not instituted new procedures since the Lewis decision, and there are no plans to make legal aid or expert witnesses available to persons whose cases are being considered by the Advisory Committee; this leads Allum and Delzin (2003) to conclude that it is hard to know how far Trinidad and Tobago intends to follow the Lewis ruling.
Although the law in both Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados holds that the sentence for murder is the mandatory death penalty, the numbers of persons actually convicted of murder, and eventually executed, are so low so as to make this an arbitrary penalty in its application.
Indeed, Roger Hood and Florence Seemungal (2006) argued that infliction of the death sentence was both rare and arbitrary. Quoting Justice Potter Stewart of the US Supreme Court, they argued that ‘whether a person is convicted of murder and sentenced to death in Trinidad and Tobago can be regarded as “cruel and unusual in the same way that being struck by lightning is cruel and unusual”.’
Allum and Delzin (2003) are also very critical of the arbitrariness of who is convicted for murder. For example, in cases in which self-defence is alleged, but the jury believes that the defendant’s actions went further than was reasonable in the circumstances, the defendant will be convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Likewise, in crimes of passion, in which a defendant acted in a heightened state of emotion, if convicted of murder, the defendant will be sentenced to death. In both these cases, Allum and Delzin argue that the defendant’s ‘guilty mind’ is far removed from the ‘guilty mind’ of someone who kills with premeditation and in cold blood.
There is no scope for the consideration of each case on its merits under a mandatory death penalty. While the death penalty is now generally considered as a punishment for ‘the worst of the worst’, the people who are sentenced to death in Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados receive the sentence without regard for whether their cases truly as the most heinous.
Doctrine of Joint Enterprise and Felony Murder Rule
Both of these legal devices can result in someone being convicted for murder even though they neither struck any blow to the victim, or intended death or serious injury to the victim. In effect, this means that people without the requisite ‘guilty mind’ can be convicted of murder and subject to the mandatory death penalty.
Allum and Delzin (2003) are critical of the felony murder rule and joint enterprise doctrine in Trinidad and Tobago.
Doctrine of joint enterprise is a common law device that applies through the English-speaking Caribbean. This holds that a person may be convicted of murder if he acted with another person in a ‘common design’ in which the infliction of death or serious injury was intended or contemplated as a possible consequence of this ‘common design’. An example of this doctrine in operation is provided by Allum and Delzin (2003): a person who participates in a bar fight may be liable for murder if a death results from the fight, even though the person neither struck the fatal blow, nor intended that death or serious injury would be the outcome.
The doctrine of joint enterprise has been criticised as being unjustly harsh.
In the case of Griffith v The Queen ( 2 AC 235) from Barbados, the Board of the Privy Council upheld the convictions of a group of young men who were convicted of murder by stabbing, approving the use of the concept of constructive malice despite questions over whether these men all had the ‘guilty mind’ required by the law for a conviction of murder. Constructive malice is a process in which the ‘malice’, or guilty mind, required for the commission of one crime, can be stretched to include the death of someone as a result of that crime.
However, in early 2016, rulings of the UK Supreme Court and the Privy Council have modified the rule on joint enterprise slightly (in the cases of R v Jogee  UKSC 8 and Ruddock v R  UKPC 7). The latter case, Ruddock, was a case from Jamaica, heard before the Privy Council. The Board held that foresight of death or serious injury is now evidence from which intention can be found, but foresight of the consequences is not the same thing as intention to the consequences. The Board were very critical of the way in which the doctrine of joint enterprise had been used over the past 30 years.
Crucially, a number of those executed in 1999 in Trinidad and Tobago had been convicted of murder and sentenced to death based on the doctrine of joint enterprise.
In addition, the felony murder rule means that a person who participates in a violent felony will be guilty of murder if death results from that felony, whether they foresaw death as a result of their actions or not. As with the mandatory death penalty, this rule was brought to the English-speaking Caribbean by the English common law. Although the rule was abolished in England by section 1 of the 1957 Homicide Act, it remains in place in Trinidad. In 1997, the rule was held to have been effectively abolished by the Privy Council, however the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 1997 was then enacted to restore it.
Method of Execution
Executions in both Trinidad and Tobago are carried out by hanging, in either Port of Spain in Trinidad or Bridgetown in Barbados.
In Boodram v Baptiste (  1 WLR 1709), evidence was submitted that death by hanging often resulted in unnecessary pain and suffering. However, the Privy Council rejected this argument.
Allum and Delzin (2003) noted that after this, in 1999, Caribbean Attorneys General released a statement to the effect that more humane methods of execution would be explored. However, since then there has been no further action taken on this.