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Jul 5, 2017

D.P.P. Asks to Keep Mandatory Sentence But Allows for Rehabilitation

Cheryl-Lynn Vidal

D.P.P. Cheryl-Lynn Vidal, in her presentation, argued that the court should be able to determine whether an inmate should be eligible for parole and granted such release based on rehabilitation.

 

Cheryl-Lynn Vidal, Director of Public Prosecutions

“The sentence remains a sentence of life imprisonment but the court would be in a position, looking at all the circumstances of the offense and the offender to say that by way of punishment this is the minimum period that this person should remain incarcerated.  But beyond that period if it is that the person is no longer a danger to himself or to society then he can be considered to be released, and under the legislation and that aspect of it is dealt with by the parole board.”

 

Winston Anderson

Justice Winston Anderson, CCJ Judge

“Is that a way of then reconciling this approach with the mandatory nature of the life sentence?  Because one of the dangers that you want to guard against, particularly with somebody who has exhibited a propensity to kill somebody else is to make sure that at no point they present an unreasonable danger to the public.  So is it then not consistent with imposing a mandatory sentence, but giving the judge the power and the obligation to demark a minimum period of time and then giving to a better placed tribunal the function of deciding whether the person remains or is a danger to society.”

 

Cheryl-Lynn Vidal

“Yes, that is certainly our position your honor.  The prisoner would have been convicted of what we would have considered to be the ultimate offense, he has taken another life.  The legislation says that this warrants a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment.  It now says that the court can determine by way of punishment, not that those words they used, but logically by way of punishment that this is what would be appropriate in the circumstances.  If, however, during that time it appears that this person is likely to commit this type of offense again or this person has not taken sufficient steps towards rehabilitation, so that there is danger posed if this person is to be released, then the state should reserve the right to ensure that that person remains incarcerated until such time as he no longer poses a threat.”

 

A date for the CCJ decision in the case of Gregory August is yet to be determined.

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