The Judiciary is in the proposing a sentencing reform bill which is to be presented to Cabinet and later Parliament to be passed into law. The Principal Judge Yorokamu Bamwine says the task force that was set up to form the sentencing guideline has now been turned into an implementation agency.
The Judiciary is in the proposing a sentencing reform bill which is to be presented to Cabinet and later Parliament to be passed into law.
The Principal Judge Yorokamu Bamwine says the task force that was set up to form the sentencing guideline has now been turned into an implementation agency.
The task force completed its work and handed over the report to the Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki who then renewed their mandate from April to October this year.
Justice Bamwine reveals that they have now been tasked with coming up with a practicing direction on the sentencing guidelines which is to be issued by a rules committee chaired by the Chief Justice.
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Bamwine says by October they should have a practicing directive and a sentencing reform bill for purposes of sending it to Parliament. The first Parliamentary Counsel will then look at the proposals and come up with an appropriate draft Bill.
Some of the new changes in the sentencing regime include the question of categorising crimes such as murder which has been divided into three categories.
A sentencing court will look at the degree of injury, mitigating and aggravating factors. It shall be categorized as category one, two and three. Category one has a range of 45 years to death, category two has a sentence ranging from 25 to 45 years and category three attracts not less than 6 years of a typical murder case.
The principal judge also notes that judicial officers are in the habit of sentencing the convicts immediately after the offence has been proved against them.
The new sentencing guidelines recommend a reasonable cool off period in which the judicial officers are to reflect on an appropriate sentence to impose instead of sentencing emotionally. This, according to Justice Bamwine, is to enhance uniformity.
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The Judiciary is also considering putting in place a sentencing council which shall study sentences on a permanent basis. The body chaired by the Principal Judge shall come into place after the guidelines have been implemented.
principal judge yorokamu bamwine
sentencing reform bill
chief justice benjamin odoki
degree of injury