The Malawi Law Commission is reviewing the sentencing guidelines with a special law commission that was instituted.
Speaking in Lilongwe during a two day national consultative workshop on the development of legislation on sentencing guidelines, Judge of the Supreme Court of Appeal, Justice Dr. Jane Ansah said there have been a lot of outcries on how the sentencing is done by the Malawian courts.
Said Ansah; “Sentences vary from one Judge to the other, at times the same judicial officer can give two different sentences to two different convicted people who have committed a similar offence.
“Now this workshop aims at making sure that there is uniformity even though it might not be that exact. The guidelines for sentencing will depend on some issues such as if the person has pleaded guilty in the very early stages or not.”
According to Ansah from the previous consultative workshops, tentative recommendations indicate principles of law that should guide courts in the exercise of their sentencing discretion, so that sentencing for analogous circumstances are delivered as transparent and consistently as practically possible.
“There is need for victim and community participation to infuse restorative justice values in the sentencing process,” she said.
On his part, Chairperson of the Special Law Commission on the development of the legislation on sentencing guidelines Justice Edward Twea said, the technical side of sentencing requires that the court should impose on an offender a sentence that is lawful and just.
“There is need to satisfy the victim of an offence and the public that justice has indeed been done, so that we achieve respect for the law and a just and peaceful society,” he said.
According to the Chairperson, one of the reasons for the problems in inconsistencies and disparities of sentence is the difficulty in accessing the law on sentencing, in that most of the details on the law of sentencing are sourced from the common law.
The special law commission consists of nine commissioners and was institute in 2013.
She added that the age of the accused person, the amount of the damage done, if the person has benefitted from the crime, or if the crime has been committed by a single person or more will also be looked into.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :