The Special Law Commission has assured Malawians that it will address problems of inconsistencies and disparities in sentencing suspects.
Speaking on Thursday in Mangochi during a consultation meeting with key stakeholders on the development of legislation on sentencing guidelines, the commission’s chairperson Justice Edward Twea said it was high time sentencing guidelines were reviewed to improve conditions in prisons.
Twea said the commission was concerned about how and why the court decides on passing particular sentences, adding it (Commission) has a critical task as it is dealing with a matter that is technical on one hand and with varied interests on the other hand.
“The State represents interests of the victim, their family and the community. When an offender has been arrested, tried and found guilty, the court has to decide on the proper sentence or punishment to pass on the convict,” said Twea.
According to Twea, the current conditions in prisons are pathetic due to archaic laws which were not relating to criminal justice; hence, there is need to align those laws with the Constitution and also to enhance efficiency.
One of the stakeholders, Mwiza Nkhata, who is a legal and political activist, said the review of the legislation on sentencing guidelines will promote human rights.
He said a parole is a good stance which if adopted will decongest prisons while reforming convicts in their homes.
Stakeholders who attended the workshop included commissioners, High Court judges, magistrates, government officials from the criminal justice sector and representatives of civil society organisations. n