Governor General Sir Emmanuel Neville Cenac and Prime Minister Allan Chastanet were present at the formal opening of the Annual Judicial Conference in St Lucia for judges and magistrates.
The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court has partnered with Criminal Justice Advisor, Sirah Abraham, in developing sentencing guidelines for nine countries. The two year project began in 2016 funded by the US and UK governments. A Sentencing Advisory Committee was set up under the leadership of the Chief Justice Dame Janice Pereira consisting of international and regional experts. That Committee has now formulated Sentencing Guidelines in serious offences. The training for all ECSC judges and magistrates funded by the US Office of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs takes place this week for a period of five days.
Sentencing guidelines are documents which set out a way for judges and magistrates to consider the seriousness of a particular offence, and to decide on the appropriate sentence in each case, ensuring that the sentence imposed on an offender reflects the crime that they have committed, the personal circumstances of the offender, and is proportionate to the seriousness of the offence. They also ensure that the courts are consistent in their approach to sentencing for particular offences. By ensuring consistency, the sentencing process becomes more transparent, as victims, the accused, lawyers, and the public can properly understand how a particular sentence has been reached.
Dame Janice said, “My hope is that certainty and fairness and overall confidence in the justice system will be the result of these new Guidelines.” The Chief Justice also expressed her “sincere appreciation to Sirah Abraham and the US Embassy and the British High Commission for their unwavering support to the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court.”