jail cell

ON January 26, 2022, the High Court will review the sentence of convicted killer Chuck Attin to determine whether he is fit to be released from prison.

Attin, 41, made an appearance before Justice Hayden St Clair Douglas yesterday for a sentence review hearing but the matter did not proceed. This was because neither the court nor his attorneys were in possession of any reports from the Prison Service outlining whether he had made any positive adjustments to his life while behind bars to facilitate his reintegration into society.

Attin, who was one of this country’s youngest murder convicts for crimes he committed when he was just 15 years old, has been in prison since 1997.

He was found guilty of murdering Candace Scott, 23, and Karen Sa Gomes, 31, in 1994 in Westmoorings.

At yesterday’s hearing, defence attorney Daniel Khan indicated to the court he had not been provided with any information from the prison as to whether Attin had in fact enrolled in any rehabilitation programmes.

“The last decision was that he was to report to certain things and we need the records to see if any progress was made,” said Khan.

The attorney pointed out that while he had previously represented Attin, he will have to make contact with the Public Defender’s Department for information on whether another attorney had been appointed to appear on behalf of the convict.

Khan said his appearance yesterday was based solely on courtesy to the court.

The last time Attin appeared in court for a sentence review was in 2015. At that time he also stood before Justice St Clair Douglas.

On that occasion the judge stated, after receiving submissions from attorneys representing Attin as well as the State, he was of the belief Attin was not fully prepared to be reintroduced into society.

He said even though Attin has made improvements and expressed remorse over his actions, he had not seized the opportunity to participate in the reintegration programmes.

Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) George Busby, who represented the State on that occasion, said participation in these programmes was an important aspect for release.

“How can he expect to be released without a risk of re-offending and is able to prosper? I genuinely don’t see how that can happen. He has not taken steps to improve himself,” Busby had stated then.

Attin, formerly of Nile Street, Cocorite, was initially sentenced to be detained at the court’s pleasure because he was a minor when the murders were committed, on July 11, 1994. That sentence was passed on February 7, 1997.

Another man, Noel Seepersad, was also found guilty of murdering the women and was sentenced to death.

On April 20, 2004, when Attin’s sentence first came up for review before Justice Herbert Volney, the judge ruled Attin should be made to serve 25 years in jail from the time of being convicted before he could be considered for release.

That ruling was appealed but the panel of Appeal Court judges, comprising former chief justice Satnarine Sharma and justices Margot Warner and Stanley John, agreed that the 25-year sentence was not an excessive one considering the brutality of the case.

Presently, attorney Ambay Ramkellawan and Danielle Thompson are appearing on behalf of the State.

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