Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Judge fumes over editorial

NATIONAL Court judge Justice Bernard Sakora has taken offence to The National newspaper’s editorial of last Friday, describing it yesterday as work of “many half-baked bush lawyers”, The National reports.

An obviously annoyed Sakora said if these so-called experts, who pretend to know the imminences of the sentencing functions of the court had their way, “I would not be here”.

The editorial suggested that the sentence imposed on William Kapris for the Metals Refining Robbery was lenient.

Sakora said: “These people pretend to know the law, particularly the law in relation to sentencing of a felon . . . and who don’t know anything about the facts of a particular case.

“There is the need to have mitigating and accurate factors, before the court could exercise its discretion, starting with section 19 of the Constitution and the Criminal Code Act.”

He said that the accused would not have the benefit of a lawyer, or ex parte matters before him, like mitigating factors – did they plead guilty of not?

Or, did they go to trial?

The effects of pleading guilty – did they cooperate with police?

“All these matters that we go through in the criminal courts everyday; the lawyers and we judges go through.

“These are called sentencing processes.”

Sakora said that criminal sentencing process was not just about getting the offence that was defined by the Criminal Code, looking at the punishment that was prescribed and imposing it.

He said The National editorial did not have enough facts, thus it was “precipitated, impulsive and ill-informed commentary”.

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