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Set up Sentencing Council, says the Bar

27 January 2012 | Last updated at 02:52AM
Set up Sentencing Council, says the Bar

KUALA LUMPUR: The Bar Council has suggested that a Sentencing Council be set up to provide guidelines on punishments for motorists who cause accidents involving death.

Council president Lim Chee Wee said with the existence of the council, punishments meted out to offenders would fit the offences.

He said it was not proper to impose a mandatory sentence on an offender who caused an accident involving death as the merits of each case had to be reviewed.

“The discretion of the judge must not be restrained. Punishments are not just to punish but also to rehabilitate (the traffic offenders),” he said.

On Sunday, Road Safety Council member Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye suggested that a mandatory jail sentence be imposed on those who drove in a dangerous manner and caused accidents resulting in death.

Lawyer Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun, who shared Lim’s views, said a mandatory sentence was not suitable as road accidents were not heavy offences like drug distribution and murder.

“It is more appropriate to impose a heavier sentence on a reckless motorist.”

Nevertheless, Malaysian Road Safety Council Research Institute (Miros) director-general Associate Professor Dr Wong Shaw Voon said a mandatory jail sentence was a deterrent.

He said the punishment, however, should not be arbitrarily imposed without scrutinising the offence based on its level of seriousness.

He said a mandatory sentence, if implemented, would enhance the awareness of motorists to be more careful and prioritise safety when on the road.

Peninsular Malaysia Road Transport Officers Union president Hamzah Masri said he hoped more awareness campaigns would be held to boost understanding of the laws, to make them more effective.

Lee, in defending his proposal, said mandatory jail sentences were the best way to check increasing deaths from accidents each year.

“Deaths from accidents went up to 6,282 in 2007, 6,527 in 2008, 6,745 in 2009 and 6,872 in 2010. Sixty per cent of the dead were motorcyclists.”

He also said mandatory jail sentences had been implemented in Australia, and that the time had come for Malaysia to adopt the regulation. Bernama

Read more: Set up Sentencing Council, says the Bar – General – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/local/general/set-up-sentencing-council-says-the-bar-1.37779#ixzz1kojMzbob

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