By Shermain Bique-Charles
On the day that Nigel Christian is being laid to rest, an Antiguan born attorney is appealing to the government to give Scotland Yard the assurance that St John’s will not seek the death penalty in any trial related to the murder of the Customs officer.
Before it agrees to help in the investigation, Britain requested a guarantee from the government that the death penalty will not be sought nor posed should a party be found guilty.
From all indications, the government is not comfortable with that request, especially after the Attorney General Steadroy Benjamin said that the issue cannot be determined by the State.
But Attorney Wayne Marsh, who resides in the United States, told Observer that the request by Scotland Yard is in keeping with human rights principles.
Marsh, who was recently called to the bar in Dominica, said the government should move with haste, especially if it wants a thorough and impartial investigation into the death of Christian.
“As we know, the Privy Council, on many occasions, has signalled its displeasure with the mandatory death penalty. Given the nature of the killing of the gentleman…to maintain that we will not give a commitment may not necessarily be the best thing for the image for Antigua and Barbuda,” he explained.
“I would urge the government and the people of Antigua and Barbuda to consider giving the assurance to Scotland Yard so they can secure speedy and thorough investigations into the death of Nigel Christian,” Marsh said.
Although capital punishment remains on the country’s statute books, it has not been carried out since 1991.
The Director of Public Prosecution, Anthony Armstrong told Observer recently that for the death penalty to be imposed, the case must be “the worst of worst and the rarest of the rare”.
Christian was abducted from his home in McKinnons by four men on July 10.
He was later found along a dirt road in the vicinity of New Winthorpes with multiple gunshots to his body.