REPORT Nº 45/98
CASE 11.855
ANTHONY GARCIA
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
September 25, 1998

I.

BACKGROUND

1. By letter dated December 16, 1997, Mr. Clive Woolf of the London firm S. Rutter & Co. (now
Collyer & Bristow) presented a petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
(hereinafter "the Commission") against the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (hereinafter "the
State" or "Trinidad") on behalf of Mr. Anthony Garcia, presently under sentence of death at the
State Prison in Port of Spain. The petition stated that Mr. Garcia was convicted of the offence
of murder of Mr. Cyril Roberts and sentenced to death on October 30, 1996.
2. Simultaneous with the presentation of the complaint, the Applicant requested the
Commission to issue precautionary measures, pursuant to article 29(2) of its Regulations, and
to seek a stay of execution pending the determination of the complaint by the Commission. On
December 19, 1997, the Commission requested the State to stay Mr. Garcia's execution "until
such time as the Commission has had the opportunity to consider this case and issue its
decision." The Commission requested "an immediate consent to the above request."
3. The State of Trinidad and Tobago did not respond to this request for precautionary
measures. The Commission regrets that the State party was not prepared to grant the
precautionary measures requested under article 29(2) of its Regulations, and to guarantee that
the Petitioner would not be executed while his case was under examination. In fact, however,
as of September 25, 1998, the petitioner has not been executed. The Commission observes
that it is not for the State party, but for the Commission, to decide whether or not a complaint
is admissible. The Commission requests the State to cooperate fully with the Commission's
examination of communications in the future.
II.

PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE COMMISSION

4. Mr. Garcia's appeal to the Court of Appeal of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago was
dismissed on May 22, 1997. Mr. Garcia's appeal against his conviction for murder and the
death sentence were dismissed by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council on December 4,
1997.
5. The complaint alleges that the following articles of the American Convention were violated
by the State of Trinidad and Tobago to the detriment of the Applicant: articles 8, 4 and 5 of
the American Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter the "Convention" or "the American
Convention"). Specifically, the petitioners allege serious violations as regards the right to legal
representation in a capital case. The petition alleges, inter alia, that the petitioner "had no
contact with legal counsel until 4 weeks after his arrest." In addition, he alleges that "he was
inadequately consulted during the preliminary hearing and throughout his trial and as such he
was given an inadequate opportunity to consult with counsel." The petitioner further submits
that he has suffered a grave and substantial miscarriage of justice in that the jury was given
an inaccurate direction on self-defense and as such these misdirections violated his rights to a
fair trial. The petitioner also states that he had to wait two years and one month before the
commencement of his trial and during that time he was forced to share a 6 foot by 9 foot cell
with five other inmates, which he claims is cruel and unusual punishment.
6. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, at the request of the Government, held a
meeting on February 20, 1998, during its 98th period of sessions, with Mr. Ralph Maraj,
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and Mr. Ramesh L. Maharaj,
the Attorney General of that State. In his statement, the Attorney General argued that the
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