Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 15th 2014 Contents A7
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Two convicted drug traffickers
scored a major legal victory yesterday
after the Court of Appeal reduced their
25-year sentences by almost half.
In an oral judgment delivered in the
Hall of Justice, a special five-member
appeal panel led by Chief Justice Ivor
Archie said Barry Francis and Roger
Hinds should serve a total of 27 years
imprisonment with hard labour.
While Francis s sentence was reduced
to 15 years, he is expected to be released
in less than seven, as the time he spent
in remand while awaiting trial, and
after being convicted, was deducted
from his sentence.
Hinds is expected to be released sev-
eral months before his accomplice as
almost six years that he has already
spent in prison was also deducted from
his adjusted 12-year sentence.
Both men had grins on their faces
as they were escorted out of the court
by police assigned to the Court and
Each man was initially sentenced to
the mandatory minimum sentence
under the Dangerous Drugs Act, when
they were convicted of trafficking 1.6
kilos of marijuana in May 2010.
The legislation states that someone
convicted of drug trafficking is liable
to imprisonment for a term of 25 years
to life, and to a fine of $100,000 or in
default an additional 15 years impris-
But in a landmark judgment delivered
two weeks ago, Archie and his col-
leagues struck down the statutory sen-
tence, saying it was unlawful and
The other members of the panel were
Paula Mae-Weekes, Alice Yorke Soo
Hon, Peter Jamadar and Nolan Bereaux.
Ray Holman's The
Judging in the pan
Smiles as two men get reduced jail time
How the court ruled
In the five-page executive summary of the judgment, Archie said: "An accused must be punished
for the crime he commits. But not only must his guilt or innocence be fairly considered, his punishment
must also be fairly applied to the facts and circumstances of his case."
Archie described the mandatory sentence as "arbitrary and capricious," as it did not allow for judicial
discretion in adapting a sentence to the exact nature of the crime.
He also said it was oppressive because it was excessive and wholly disproportionate to the actual
The duo s legal team included Jagdeo Singh, Amerelle Francis, Daniel Khan and Hasine Shaikh.
The Criminal Bar Association (CBA) had been given permission by the court to intervene in the
appeal and as an interested party, it provided submissions on the sentencing issue.
The CBA s legal team included Senior Counsel Pamela Elder and Sophia Chote and attorneys Rajiv
Persad, Michelle Solomon and Raphael Morgan.
Two agricultural groups have been
granted leave to apply for judicial
review to challenge the results of the
Agricultural Society of T&T s (ASTT)
controversial January executive elec-
High Court judge Frank Seepersad,
presiding in San Fernando on Thursday,
granted the ex-parte leave to Sugrim
Kalpoo, president of the Lightbourne
Caratal Farmers Association, and Has-
sanali Yatali, president of the United
Farmers Association, together with
Sylvester Peno and Ravi Samaroo.
They are seeking to have the elections
declared null and void and fresh elec-
The four men, through their attor-
neys Michael Rooplal and Saira Lakhan-
Rooplal, filed an application against the
ASTT seeking judicial review of the
January 19 elections, which saw Nawaz
Karim emerge as the new president of
the society. Seepersad opted not to
grant an injunction barring the newly-
elected executive from running the
business of the ASTT.
The four are seeking a declaration
that the AGM contravened the prin-
ciples of natural justice.
Legal challenge to ASTT elections
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