Westmoorings killer Chuck Attin back in court for sentence review

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

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MORE than 27 years after he and another man murdered two women in Westmoorings, convicted child killer Chuck Attin returned to the High Court on Wednesday, for a review of his sentence.

Attin was one of the youngest murders convicted, at just 15 years old, in 1997. On Wednesday, he reappeared before Justice Hayden St Clair-Douglas for a review of his sentence for the murders of Candace Scott, 23, and Karen Sa Gomes, 31, in 1994.

Attin, formerly of Nile Street, Cocorite, was initially sentenced by Justice Lionel Jones to be detained at the State’s pleasure, but this was later challenged in a constitutional motion and the law was changed so that child murderers, who could not face the death penalty because of their age, would be detained at the Court’s pleasure with periodic reviews.

In 2004, Justice Herbert Volney sentenced him to a minimum term of 25 years, after which he would return to court for a review of his sentence.

Volney’s ruling was partly upheld by the Court of Appeal, which ruled the 25-year punitive element of the sentence was not excessive, having regard to the brutality of the case, but that the sentence should come up for review before the expiration of the term.

Attin’s last review was in 2015, also before St Clair-Douglas, when it was determined he was not ready to be released, since he had not availed himself of the various reintegration programmes offered at the prison.

The judge urged him to do so.

“Clearly you have changed, but the real question is by how much…Releasing a man with no life skills who engaged in a serious crime is not something any court can take lightly,” said the judge in 2015.

He said then that he believed Attin was not fully prepared to be reintroduced into society at that time, although he did make some improvement and had expressed remorse over his actions.

It had also been submitted by now deputy Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) George Busby that participation in these programmes was an important aspect for release.

“How can he expect to be released without risk of reoffending and (be) able to prosper? I genuinely don’t see how that can happen. He has not taken steps to improve himself,” Busby said at the 2015 hearing.

At Wednesday’s hearing, St Clair-Douglas said significant reports were necessary before the court could embark on a review of the sentence.

“The court doesn’t have these reports.”

He said on the last occasion, Attin was required to “attend to certain things” and “we need the reports for certain things to take place.”

Attorney Daniel Khan, who along with attorney Keith Scotland had previously represented Attin, said he was only making an appearance at the review hearing to “progress the matter,” but he would have to speak to the Public Defender’s Department, since it was their matter.

The judge adjourned the sentence review to January 26, when it is hoped that the court will either have received the relevant reports or hear from the lawyers on the current state of affairs.

The State was represented by prosecutors Danielle Thompson and Ambay Ramkhelawan. Attin appeared virtually from the Maximum Security Prison in Arouca for Wednesday’s hearing.

Another man, Noel Seepersad, was also convicted of killing the women’s and was sentenced to hang. He appealed his conviction, but his petition to the Privy Council for special leave was dismissed.