Boodram v The State: PC 10 Apr 2001

(Trinidad and Tobago) On a retrial, the defendant’s counsel only became aware that there had been an earlier trial late in the proceedings, and, when he became aware of it, he did not try to obtain the transcript of the first trial in order to assess what could be done to redress any prejudice or potential prejudice to the defendant. He also failed to pursue an allegation that the defendant had signed her confession only after being raped in the cells by a police sergeant. The appellant was accused of having murdered her husband by poisoning.
Held: Where a defence case had clearly been conducted in an incompetent manner, to an extent that the defendant could not be said to have had a fair trial, then it was appropriate to set aside the conviction which followed. An appellate court should approach complaints about counsel’s incompetence and its effects on a trial, with a healthy scepticism, but where the failure was fundamental, a court should only with great care find that the jury would have reached the same decision even with competent counsel.


Citations: Times 15-May-2001, No 65 of 2000, [2001] UKPC 18, [2002] 1 Cr App R 103


Bailii, PC, PC


CitedFlowers v The Queen PC 30-Oct-2000
(Jamaica) Where a defendant claimed that his constitutional right to a trial within a reasonable time had been infringed, it was correct for the appellate courts to take account of the fact that it remained clear that the defendant was guilty of a . .
CitedReid v The Queen PC 1980
It is not in the interests of justice for the prosecution to be given a second chance to make good deficiencies in its case. The Board gave guidance on the considerations relevant to ordering a new trial: ‘… the interest of justice that is served . .
CitedCharles, Steve Carter and Leroy Carter v The State PC 26-May-1999
(Trinidad and Tobago) A third trial for murder, with a capital sentence to follow, after a long delay, and when one verdict had been set aside, and a second jury undecided, became an abuse of process. This is usually a judge’s discretion and should . .
CitedLawrence Pat Sankar v State of Trinidad and Tobago PC 16-Dec-1994
(Trinidad and Tobago) An advocate’s failure to advise his client on the need for him to give evidence, and the consequences of his not doing so may be enough to justify an appeal against conviction. . .
CitedRegina v Clinton CACD 1993
Where counsel’s conduct is called in question, the general principle requires the court to focus on the impact of the faulty conduct on the trial and result. . .

Cited by:

CitedTeeluck and John v The State PC 23-Mar-2005
(Trinidad and Tobago) The defendant appealed against his conviction saying that his defence had been incompetent in having failed to require the judge to give a good character direction to the jury.
Held: The appeal was allowed. Recent cases . .
CitedBally Sheng Balson v The State PC 2-Feb-2005
PC (Dominica) The appellant had been convicted of the murder of his partner and appealed the conviction.
Held: The case did not fall within the case of Anderson, and counsel’s failure was not such as to . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Practice, Legal Professions, Commonwealth

Updated: 06 June 2022; Ref: scu.174516