Sentencing database essential for PNG courts: Official


IT is anticipated that the use of the PNG sentencing database system will increase extensively as the database accumulates information, an Australian official says.
Deputy chief executive of the Judicial Commission of New South Wales, Murali Sagi, told chief justices and judges at a Pacific Judicial Conference in Port Moresby last Thursday that the database was introduced into the PNG judiciary in 2012 to assist with consistency in criminal sentencing.
“The judges and legal practitioners in PNG are beginning to use the (database) system in their day to day work,” Sagi said.
“This will result in PNG Sentencing Database becoming an essential tool for PNG court, both at first instance and appellate level, and for legal practitioners.”
Sagi said the major objective for any criminal justice system was to reduce unjustified disparities in sentences imposed by courts to improve sentencing efficiency and to reduce the number of appeals against sentences, thereby releasing valuable resources which could be redeployed to reduce court delays.
“To address this objective, the Supreme and National Courts of PNG implemented the PNG Sentencing Database on Nov 19, 2012, with the assistance of the Judicial Commission of New South Wales,” Sagi said.
“The PNG Sentencing Database is a computerised database containing legal information relevant to all judicial officers.”
Sagi said the database was designed by the Judicial Commission of New South Wales under the guidance of Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia and experienced judges of the Supreme and National Courts in PNG.
He said the database which could be accessed via the internet had an extensive, interrelated and hypertext-linked sentencing resource that provided discrete modules of reference material.
“Its purpose is to provide judges with rapid and easy access to information relevant to the judicial role,” Sagi said.
He clarified that the objective of the sentencing component of the database was not to limit the sentencing discretion of each judicial officer.
He said its purpose was to provide judicial officers with quick and easy access to the collective wisdom of the courts to assist them with sentencing decisions.
The key modules in the database include, sentencing statistics, court judgments, legislations, judicial handbooks, court rules and case notes.

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