Privy Council remits death row case back to Trinidad and Tobago Court of Appeal for re-hearing

The Privy Council have remitted the case of Deenish Benjamin and Deochan Ganga for murder back to the Trinidad & Tobago Court of Appeal in the light of fresh evidence. James Wood QC & John Jones acted for appellants.


In particular, the Board re-affirmed the need for a Mustaq direction on confessions even when the defence was fabrication, and qualified the limitations imposed by the case of Wizzard. It considered that the medical evidence would appear to warrant the Court of Appeal to consider issues of fitness to plead, reliability of the appellant's confessions and the availability of a defence of diminished responsibility on the question of whether the convictions were unsafe and do not constitute a miscarriage of justice. The Board also found that the judge's direction to the jury on "special knowledge" was wrong, but considered that it would not have played any significant part in the finding of guilt.


The Board opened the way to a challenge to the mandatory nature of the death penalty in homicide in Trinidad and Tobago, by referring to the Court of Appeal, the issue of whether such a sentence could constitute cruel and unusual punishment in the case of a mentally impaired person, upon the fresh evidence placed before them.

To view the judgment in full please click here.

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