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'A good day for criminal justice' as ECSC launches sentencing guidelines

- Hon Ian Morley said aim of sentencing guidelines is to bring greater uniformity to sentencing approach throughout the ECSC
The launch of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) Sentencing Guidelines was done in Antigua on September 17, 2019 and live streamed across the ECSC jurisdictions, including the Virgin Islands (High Court). Photo: VINO
Chief Justice Dame Janice M. Pereira has made it clear that the sentencing guidelines are not intended and do not replace the exercise of a sentencing officer’s discretion. Photo: GIS/File
Chief Justice Dame Janice M. Pereira has made it clear that the sentencing guidelines are not intended and do not replace the exercise of a sentencing officer’s discretion. Photo: GIS/File
The launch of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) Sentencing Guidelines was live streamed at the High Court of the Virgin Islands on September 17, 2019. Photo: VINO
The launch of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) Sentencing Guidelines was live streamed at the High Court of the Virgin Islands on September 17, 2019. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- On the heels of public outcry over the perceived inconsistency in sentencing in the courts of the Virgin Islands, the public might be somewhat satisfied to know that judges and magistrates in the territory and the other member states of the Eastern Caribbean will soon have a unified guide to follow when sentencing criminals.

“It is the aim of the sentencing guidelines to bring greater uniformity to the sentencing approach throughout the ECSC,” said Co-Chair of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) Sentencing Guidelines Advisory Committee, His lordship, The Honorable Iain Morley on the launch of the new set of guidelines to come into effect on October 1, 2019.

Morley was at the time making his address in Antigua. His presentation, which was streamed live in other jurisdictions, pointed out that the first set of guidelines will be for rape, unlawful and aggravated sexual intercourse, drugs, theft and robbery.

The second set of guidelines, which will target the offences of murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, grievous bodily harm with intent and without intent, actual bodily harm, burglary, fraud, corruption, incest, indecent assault and serious indecency, will be launched by Easter.

Mr Morley said with the guide, which will be reviewed continuously, aims to educate the public and defendants on how the sentences are instructed by the various courts.

“This is a good day for criminal justice in the Eastern Caribbean,” he remarked.

Guidelines are important

Chief Justice of the ECSC Dame Janice M. Pereira, who delivered the feature address, stated that “I want to make it clear that the guidelines are not intended and do not replace the exercise of a sentencing officer’s discretion. Rather, what is required and what is expected is that the sentences will follow the guidelines published for an offence unless to do so would not be in the interest of justice.”

She added, “What it requires a sentencing officer to do if it is they consider they ought to deviate from that guideline, they must provide clear reasons for departing from those guidelines when passing a sentence.”

Dame Pereira urged all legal practitioners, and members of the public to familiarise themselves with the rules as it is of “utmost importance that the public has and maintains confidence in the administration of justice and one way of doing so is by employing measures which demonstrate consistency in approach and providing clear reasons for sentences passed on offenders.”

The governments of the United Kingdom and the United States of America funded the undertaking, which spanned over three years.

Before the launch of the guidelines, a training seminar was held earlier this year with legal practitioners, litigants, social workers, mediators, probation officers, the police, correctional services officers and members of the public in the OECS for their feedback.

Once implemented, the courts in Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Montserrat and the VI, where the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court has jurisdiction, will be guided by the rules.

3 Responses to “'A good day for criminal justice' as ECSC launches sentencing guidelines”

  • opposition (18/09/2019, 08:59) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    Let's go back to Mr. Dagou's case and make some correction
  • HMP (18/09/2019, 09:43) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply
    The judges will still do as they like!
  • belle vue (18/09/2019, 12:58) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    Mr.Dagou needs too be out!!! Something needs too be done......Every one can see this is not rightright!!


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