Her?bert Vol?ney

Jesse Ramdeo

Former High Court judge and Minister of Justice, Herbert Volney, is making it clear that sentencing is not revenge in the wake of objections to the jail terms given to Akeel Mitchell and Richard Chatoo.

Both men were found guilty of the 2006 murder of six-year-old Sean Luke.

On Wednesday, Justice Lisa Ramsumair-Hinds sentenced both men to serve nearly 30 years collectively in prison.

In an interview with Guardian Media yesterday, Volney reiterated that the death penalty was not applicable and that the sentencing was fair.

“The judge has those factors, justice and mercy, to balance when sentencing. Society expects there will be retribution for the acts and the law, first of all, limits the extent of the retribution in that it says the persons cannot be sentenced to hang. One has to understand a judge has to be above emotions that run high in a case like this.”

During the trial, Justice Ramsumair-Hinds stressed that the death penalty could not be imposed on Chatoo and Mitchell, who were minors at the time of the crime. She advised the public not to clamour for the men to face the gallows.

“The judge, in determining the sentence, invariably will take into account, first of all, the gravity and circumstances of the killing, the actual age of those complicit in the killing, the lengths of time the persons were in custody, whether there appears to be any remorse for the killing – all these factors add to discounts that are given,” Volney added.

Volney praised Justice Ramsumair-Hinds for her handling of the case. He said she took everything into account, followed the sentencing guidelines set in the judge’s handbook and came up with what he described as the “right sentencing.”