Lagos to set sentencing guidelines for judges, magistrates
Lagos State Government has commenced moves to set guidelines for imposing sentences on offenders by judges and magistrates in the state.
The state’s Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, Ade Ipaye, said this in Alausa, Ikeja, the state capital, while fielding questions from journalists during the 2013 Ministerial Press Briefing on the activities of the Ministry of Justice in the last one year.
Ipaye said the plan which had now been put as a Bill before the Lagos State House of Assembly, was to set a uniform standard of sentences imposed by judges and magistrates on persons convicted for various offences.
He commended the state’s Law Reform Commission formed last year for drafting such law which would stop making imposition of sentences dependent on the “mercy” and “generosity” of judges and magistrates.
He said, “I’m happy to say that the Law Reform Commission has been hard at work and has actually produced bills which are now being processed in the House of Assembly.
“For instance, the commission has developed sentencing guidelines. This will guide magistrates and judges in a way they impose sentences after convicting the defendants that come before them.
“This is to achieve fairly uniformity. The number of years in prison or number of hours of community an offender is sentence to should not depend on the judge that the case happens to be before.
“It shouldn’t depend on whether the judge was generous or not generous; kind or not kind. No.”
He said documents of internationally-accepted guidelines for imposing sentences had been issued to various judges and magistrates in the state.