Letter: The law in Trinidad

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Your leading article, "The Law Lords have ducked their moral responsibility" (27 May), is confused. In the case to which you refer, the members of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council were concerned with the administration of the law of Trinidad and Tobago, not the law of England.

As long as appeals to the Privy Council exist, and there are good reasons for retaining them, it is "obliged to support the wish" not only of the Trinidadian government but, more importantly, apparently that of the majority of Trinidadians that the appellants should hang.

What the committee had to consider was whether there had been any breach of the due process of law. That the individual members of the committee may consider capital punishment to be repugnant is irrelevant; the committee is a court of law, not of morals.

If a duly elected government wishes to retain capital punishment, as do a number of the states of the United States, the committee is bound to administer the law as it finds it.

S L NEWCOMBE

Alboussiere, France

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