MAGISTRATE HIGHLIGHTS SUSPENDED SENTENCING CONSIDERATIONS


October 22, 2021 - 273 views

by JOSHUA ARLO

The court needs guidance from relevant legal principles when deciding if a convicted person’s imposed sentence should be suspended. 

This has been highlighted by Boroko Court Magistrate, Seth Tanei when considering whether to suspend a 12-month jail sentence on an 18-year-old-man (name witheld), found guilty of carrying an offensive weapon. 

The young man was caught by police in August this year, with a home-made gun and a kitchen knife after his friends escaped. Police had been notified by security guards when the group had stopped and opened a Toyota Apen Bus at Boroko Motors, Waigani Drive on August 6th

The young man, from Surinki Village in Laiagam, Enga Province, was residing at Hohola 1 in the nation’s capital, and had previously been convicted twice for being in possession of dangerous drugs. 

Magistrate Tanei says when he considered suspending the sentence, he sought guidance from the higher courts which identifies three categories for suspension: 

  • If suspension helps promote personal deterrence, reformation or rehabilitation of the offender;
  • if suspension will promote the restitution of stolen money or goods; and
  • if imprisonment would cause an excessive degree of suffering to the particular offender, for example because of his bad physical and mental health. 

In the end, the court decided that the offence was serious and did not warrant a suspended sentence; and that this particular offence is prevalent; and that the sentence will deter him from reoffending, and also rehabilitate him. 

Magistrate Tanei also considered that he is a youthful offender and runs the risk of being exposed to hardened criminals if incarcertate but his prior convictions and a need to be away from his peers warranted him serving out his 12 months jail time with hard labor. Time sepend in custody was deducted from his sentence period. 

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