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Caribbean Sentencing Advisory Committee meets in Barbados

Caribbean Sentencing Advisory Committee meets in Barbados

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Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson joined Dame Janice Pereira, Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, and judges from Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean and Trinidad and Tobago at a two-day meeting to establish sentencing guidelines across the region.

Also participating was Hon Mrs Justice Maura McGowan, a member of the High Court of England and Wales. The meeting was funded by the Governments of the United States and the United Kingdom.

British High Commissioner Janet Douglas entertained the members of the committee at an elegant reception at her official residence on Friday, January 12. Distinguished guests included Her Excellency the Governor General of Barbados, Dame Sandra Mason, US Ambassador Linda Taglialatela and the Director of Public Prosecutions, Donna Babb-Agard.

The Sentencing Advisory Committee was established in 2017, under the auspices of Dame Janice Pereira, Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, with the aim of developing sentencing guidelines for the territories served by the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and the wider region, in respect of the offences of murder, firearms, drugs and proceeds of crime/money laundering.

Sentencing guidelines are documents which set out a way for judges and magistrates to consider the seriousness of a particular offence, and to decide on the appropriate sentence in each case. These guidelines ensure that the sentence that is imposed on an offender reflects the crime that they have committed, and is proportionate to the seriousness of the offence.

Sentencing guidelines will serve the important role of ensuring that the courts are consistent in their approach to sentencing. By ensuring consistency, the sentencing process also becomes more transparent, as victims, the accused, lawyers, and the public can properly understand how a particular sentence has been reached. This will help the delivery of fair and efficient justice in the region.

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