Sean Luke

The sentencing of two men convicted of brutally murdering six-year-old Sean Luke as teenagers has been postponed once again.

Akeel Mitchell and Richard Chatoo were scheduled to be sentenced by High Court Judge Lisa Ramsumair-Hinds, yesterday morning, but prosecutors and defence attorneys were notified that it was deferred until 2 pm, next Wednesday. The sentencing exercise was initially due to take place on August 23, but it was adjourned due to the late disclosure of the duo’s bio-social reports.

Mitchell and Chatoo’s attorneys have submitted that in calculating the sentence Justice Ramsumair-Hinds should start with sentences of 18 and 20 years and 15 to 18 years, respectively.

Prosecutors claimed that the starting point should be significantly higher with each facing between 30 and 35 years in prison. While the mandatory sentence for murder is the death penalty, such can not be applied to Mitchell and Chaitoo as they were minors when Luke was killed.

In sentencing the duo, Justice Ramsumair-Hinds would set the mandatory minimum each would have to serve before they are eligible for periodic sentence reviews. If the judge hearing their eventual sentence reviews is satisfied that they have been rehabilitated and are fit to return to society, they may be released.

Luke, of Henry Street, Orange Valley Road in Couva, went missing on the evening of March 26, 2006, and his decomposing body was found two days later. An autopsy revealed that he died from internal injuries and bleeding arising out of being sodomized with sugarcane stalk. Chatoo, who was 16-years-old at the time, and 13-year-old Mitchell, who is the stepson of Chatoo’s brother, were charged with the crime.

On July 23, this year both Mitchell and Chatoo were found guilty of murdering the boy, more than fifteen years after the incident occurred.

Chatoo and Mitchell have already signalled their intention to appeal their convictions. Mitchell is being represented by Randall Raphael and Kirby Joseph, while Evans Welch, Kelston Pope and Gabriel Hernandez represented Chatoo. Sabrina Dougdeen-Jaglal, Anju Bhola and Sophia Sandy-Smith are prosecuting.