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Advisory panel established to formulate, publish guidelines on sentencing of offences

Advisory panel established to formulate, publish guidelines on sentencing of offences

File photo of a gavel. (Photo: CNA/Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: An advisory panel has been established to formulate and publish guidelines on matters relating to the sentencing of offences, the Ministry of Law (MinLaw) said on Thursday (Jun 2).

This will help promote greater consistency, transparency and public awareness about such matters, the ministry added.

Minister for Home Affairs and Law K Shanmugam said in Parliament in March last year that the advisory panel will issue non-binding sentencing guidelines to help achieve more consistency in sentencing and for better public education on such issues.

MinLaw said such guidelines could, for example, propose sentencing approaches for particular offences. These include sentencing bands based on harm and culpability, as well as aggravating and mitigating factors.

“This will provide greater clarity about possible sentencing outcomes and the relevant sentencing factors," the ministry said in a press release.

“In the course of preparing the guidelines, the panel may consult the relevant stakeholders, where appropriate."

The panel will be chaired by Justice Steven Chong, Justice of the Court of Appeal, and will have 11 other members. They are:

  1. Second Minister for Law Edwin Tong
  2. Justice See Kee Oon
  3. Justice Hoo Sheau Peng
  4. Justice Vincent Hoong
  5. Deputy Attorney-General Tai Wei Shyong
  6. Permanent Secretary (Home Affairs) Pang Kin Keong
  7. Permanent Secretary (Law) Loh Khum Yean
  8. Registrar (State Courts) Christopher Tan Pheng Wee
  9. District Judge Kow Keng Siong
  10. Deputy Commissioner (Investigation and Intelligence) Florence Chua
  11. Mr Sunil Sudheesan from the Law Society

At the panel’s inaugural meeting, MinLaw said the members agreed to study "a few areas" where guidelines could be potentially useful, including guidelines on general sentencing principles.

The panel’s guidelines may be cited by the prosecution or the defence in their arguments before the courts, said MinLaw.

The guidelines will not be legally binding on the courts, which may decide whether to adopt the guidelines in a given case, and if so, how the guidelines should be applied.

Source: CNA/lk(mi)


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