Virgin Islands legal stakeholders were trained this week on sentencing guidelines for offences involving drugs, rape, unlawful sexual intercourse, theft and robbery, according to Government Information Services.
The Monday session was part of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court’s ongoing push to help ensure a more uniform approach to sentencing practices, boost transparency, and build greater public confidence in the administration of justice, GIS announced in a press release.
Training attendees were scheduled to include the attorney general and his staff; prosecutors; the magistracy; the police commissioner and his staff; the superintendent of prisons and his officers; representatives from the Social Development Department and the Probation Department; and the chairman of the Parole Board, according to GIS.
The session, which was hosted by ECSC Justice Iain Morley, QC, was conceived as a result of a series of consultations undertaken by the court.
Feedback was taken into consideration from legal practitioners, litigants, social workers, mediators, probation officers, the police, correctional services officers, and members of the public in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, according to GIS.
By launching guidelines, the court hopes to assist judges and magistrates sitting in the Criminal Division in determining appropriate sentences.
The guidelines are still in the draft stage and not publicly available. Officials at the ECSC in St. Lucia were unable to comment as of Beacon press time yesterday.
Though sentencing reform efforts have been in the works for years, the training in the VI came shortly after public outcry over a six-and-a-half-year sentence a man received for killing his wife. The same day, a man who stole a television after Irma was sentenced to two years in prison.