Sun | Oct 21, 2018

Local privy council to consider case of senior citizen imprisoned for 21 years due to error

Published:Wednesday | September 10, 2014 | 9:09 AM

The local Privy Council is expected to decide next month whether the senior citizen who has been languishing in prison for the past 21 years because of an error made by a judge in 1993 will be released.

In July, attorney-at-law K Churchill Neita, QC, wrote to the Governor General Sir Patrick Allen outlining the plight of 59-year-old William Purcell.

Sir Patrick has since written a letter to Neita outlining that the petition for remission of the remainder of sentence for Purcell was considered by the Privy Council on September 2.

The letter said the matter was deferred pending Sir Patrick's receipt of a comprehensive report on Purcell's conduct during his incarceration as well as his ability to reintegrate into his community should he be released.

Neita was also informed that the Department of Correctional Services was expected to provide the information before the next meeting of the Privy Council scheduled for October 7.

Purcell's troubles began in 1993 when a judge ordered him to serve a mandatory life sentence for gun offences.

Neita explained that the judge did not take into consideration the changes to the law in the 1980s, which abolished mandatory life sentences for gun offences.

The amendment had led to the review of the cases of more than 400 prisoners.

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