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

Murder Conviction and Death Sentence Quashed by Court for Trinidadian Diagnosed with Mental Disorder

  • News
  • 20 Jul 2015

A manslaughter verdict was substituted today in place of a murder conviction for Stephen Robinson, for killing a security guard in Trinidad & Tobago in 2002. Robinson, who suffers from chronic schizophrenia, was convicted and sentenced to death in 2009, despite uncontroverted medical evidence which showed him to be affected by illness at the time.

The Privy Council, still Trinidad & Tobago’s highest court, said that Robinson unquestionably suffered from a chronic and incurable disease at the time of the killing and could not be said to be entirely responsible for his actions. Fresh evidence in the form of a forensic psychiatric report was provided to the court confirming the appellant’s medical condition.

Evidence of mental illness can mean the difference between life and death in Trinidad & Tobago where the death penalty is still mandatory for murder. However, raising the defence is often hampered by the lack of resources available for obtaining forensic psychiatric and psychological evaluations. In a series of cases brought by The Death Penalty Project over the last decade, a large number of convictions have been overturned based on fresh medical evidence.

Next year, in appeals from Trinidad & Tobago, the Privy Council is to rule upon the constitutionality of imposing a death sentence on someone who suffers from mental disorder.

Full judgment available here.

Read the Times Law Report .

Paul Bowen QC from Brick Court Chambers and Stephen Broach from Monckton Chambers were instructed pro bono in this case, along with Amanda Clift-Matthews.

Dr Marc Lyall of Forensic Psychiatry Chambers was instructed pro bono to carry out an assessment of Mr Robinson and to provide expert evidence.

 

Photo credit: mpburrows (Flickr, Creative Commons), https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/legalcode

Latest news

Efforts towards Abolition: Our recent trip to Ghana
Read More
There is strong evidence Kenyans want abolition of death penalty
Read More
New research examines Kenyan attitudes towards the death penalty
Read More
As Africa rapidly turns away from capital punishment, is it time for Kenya to abolish this relic of a colonial past?
Read More
Challenge to the constitutionality of the mandatory death penalty in Trinidad and Tobago dismissed by UK Privy Council
Read More
Lescene Edwards's murder conviction overturned by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council
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 pays tribute to Professor Nigel Eastman
Read More
Taiwan’s legislators hold the key to abolition as new research reveals the majority favour an end to capital punishment
Read More
The Death Penalty Project pays tribute to Nancy Anderson
Read More
UK’s Privy Council set to hear important challenge to constitutionality of the mandatory death penalty in Trinidad and Tobago
Read More
Indonesians’ support for the death penalty declines with more rigorous survey methods
Read More
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
The Death Penalty Project at CogX Festival 2021
Read More

Stay up-to-date with our work