Director of Public Prosecutions and others v Tokai and others: PC 12 Jun 1996

(Trinidad and Tobago) The appellant had been charged in 1981 with offences alleged to have been committed shortly before. The proceedings continued until his appeal for one was dismissed in 1988. The wounding charges were proceeded with only in 1994. He complained that the delay was an abuse, and his appeal succeeded. The prosecutor now appealed.
Held: Lord Keith of Kinkel said: ‘this Constitution, unlike some of those in other Caribbean countries and elsewhere, particularly the United States of America and Canada, does not include in the catalogue of fundamental rights and freedoms the right to a speedy trial or trial within a reasonable time.’
The provisions of the Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago do not confer on individuals the right to a trial within a reasonable time. The delay was not unjustifiable, the chances of prejudice were small; the trial process would have provided ample protection for the accused; there was no danger of the trial being unfair; finally, the case was not in any sense exceptional so as to justify a stay.


Lord Keith of Kinkel, Lord Jauncey of Tullichettle, Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead, Lord Steyn, Lord Hope of Craighead


[1996] AC 856, Appeal No 53 of 1995, [1996] UKPC 2, [1996] UKPC 19


Bailii, Bailii


CitedAttorney General’s Reference (No 1 of 1990) CACD 1990
A police officer attended an incident where two people were arrested. Complaints about his conduct were made of which he was given notice. A formal investigation was instituted and adjourned pending the outcome of criminal proceedings against those . .
CitedConnelly v Director of Public Prosecutions HL 1964
Plea of Autrefois Acquit is Narrow in Scope
The defendant had been tried for and acquitted of murder. The prosecution then sought to have him tried for robbery out of the same alleged facts. The House considered his plea of autrefois convict.
Held: The majority identified a narrow . .
CitedRegina v Telford Justices, ex parte Badhan CACD 1991
The defendant was accused of a sexual offence alleged to have been committed some 15 years earlier. He asked the magistrates to dismiss the charge as an abuse of process, and now appealed their refusal.
Held: The onus was on the accused to . .
CitedJago v District Court of New South Wales 12-Oct-1989
(High Court of Australia) If applications to stop criminal proceedings for abuse were commonly granted, they would be seen with suspicion. . .
CitedNankissoon Boodram v Attorney-General of Trinidad and Tobago PC 19-Feb-1996
The court considered the effect of prejudicial reporting on a trial: ‘In a case such as this, the publications either will or will not prove to have been so harmful that when the time for the trial arrives the techniques available to the trial judge . .
CitedBell v Director of Public Prosecutions of Jamaica PC 1985
The appellant had been sentenced to life for firearms offences. After a successfully appeal, a retrial was ordered. More than two years had passed, after a previous attempt failed for absent witnesses.
Held: Referred to the US decision in . .
CitedVincent v The Queen; Franklyn v the Queen PC 30-Jun-1993
Jamaica- prosecution must provide copies of statements to defence. The provisions of section 20(1) and (6) of the Jamaican Constitution ‘do no more than codify in writing the requirements of the common law which ensure that an accused person . .
CitedAttorney-General of Hong Kong v Cheung (Wai-Bun) PC 1994
(Hong Kong) The defendant was indicted on charges of conspiracy to defraud and false accounting, the allegation being that the false accounting offences had been committed in order to conceal the conspiracy. The Crown sought to rely on the cover-up . .
CitedSookermany v Director of Public Prosecutions 1-May-1996
The Court of Appeal of Trinidad and Tobago dismissed an appeal against refusal of constitutional relief claimed on the ground of undue delay:- ‘As there are admittedly measures available to a trial judge to negative the prejudicial effect on the . .

Cited by:

CitedBoodhoo, Jagram, (suing on behalf of themselves and the Sanatan Dharma Sudhar Sadha) v The Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago PC 1-Apr-2004
PC (Trinidad and Tobago) The complainant said that his constitutional rights had been infringed by the court’s delay. Proceedings had begun in 1987 for redress with regard to a land dispute. There was substantial . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Practice, Commonwealth, Constitutional

Updated: 31 May 2022; Ref: scu.159174