|Meeting to discuss merits of Sentencing Council|
|Friday, 01 March 2013 10:13am|
©The Star (Used by permission)
By SHAILA KOSHY
KUALA LUMPUR: Stakeholders in the criminal justice system and an international expert on sentencing are meeting to discuss the merits of a Sentencing Council.
The one-day dialogue will have speakers from the judiciary, the Malaysian Bar and the Victorian Sentencing Advisory Council (VSCA) in Australia.
Rajpal Singh, chairman of the Bar Council's Criminal Law Committee (CLC), said they had invited the Attorney General's Chambers, public and private universities, and civil society groups to send representatives to participate in the dialogue.
“The judiciary has in a Practice Direction asked its judges to follow certain sentencing guidelines but that is not enough.
“The CLC is organising this dialogue because the Bar feels a Sentencing Council comprising experts from various backgrounds would be better in ensuring greater uniformity.
“Such a council could set out the sentences for different offences and help avoid too much disparity in the sentencing for same offences.”
Rajpal Singh stressed that final discretion would still be in the judge's hands.
The latest public furore over sentencing occurred last year in the rape of a couple of young girls.
As a result, de facto Law Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz told Dewan Rakyat in September the government would consider setting up a Sentencing Council and announced in November that a Bill to remove the discretionary powers of judges in sentencing offenders of statutory rape would be tabled.
Nazri, is expected to deliver the opening speech.
The other local speakers are former CLC chairman Datuk V. Sithambaram and Court of Appeal judge Datuk Azahar Mohamed, a former deputy public prosecutor.
Arie Freiberg, Emeritus Prof at Monash University, will speak on Sentencing Advisory Councils: Bridging the Gap Between the Community, the Courts and the Government; and Promoting Consistency in Sentencing.
He was appointed chair of the VSCA in July 2004, and chair of the Tasmanian Sentencing Advisory Council in February 2013.
The dialogue on March 5 is at the Raja Aziz Addruse Auditorium, Lebuh Pasar Besar, here.
Admission is free but as places are limited, register in advance. Contact Florence Laway (03-2050 2104; firstname.lastname@example.org) or Rajeswari Gunarasa (03-2050 2089; email@example.com).
|< Prev||Next >|