HC issues sentencing guideline
Judge has to hold hearing on sentencing before imposing final conviction
The High Court has issued a guideline to give appropriate and proportionate sentence to an accused for his or her offence. The High Court bench of Justice Sheikh Hassan Arif and Justice Biswajit Debnath issued the guideline in the full text of a verdict that has been released on the SC website on Thursday night.
In the guideline, the High Court said, “When the final argument of the parties is concluded and the judge has made up his mind to convict the accused for the offences punishable with death or life imprisonment or imprisonment for a term of years, the judge shall express his/her such mind to the parties in open Court or Tribunal.
And then the judge shall fix a date, within shortest possible time for separate hearing on sentencing of the accused in order to determine the appropriate sentences to be imposed.”
It further said, “In such hearing, the parties shall be entitled to produce the aggravating and mitigating materials available in their possession including the social background, crime record, age, financial status etc. of the accused as indicated by our Appellate Division in one of its judgment.
In such hearing, the trial judge shall balance between aggravating and mitigating circumstances with an eye on the particular issues like the nature of sentence, circumstances of its commission, the age and character of the offender, the injury to the individuals or to the society, whether the offender is a habitual, casual or a professional offender, effect of punishment on the offender, delay in the trial and mental agony suffered by the offender during the prolonged trial and even eye to correction and reformation of the offender etc., and, only after that, the trial judge shall deliver/pronounce the judgment and order of conviction along with sentence.”
The High Court bench has also asked the Registrar General of the Supreme Court to send a copy of this judgment containing above directions or to issue a circular in this regard directing the Courts and the Tribunals concerned across the country to comply with the above directions about sentencing.
According to the verdict, the Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal in Jashore on May 30 in 2017 convicted Md Lavlu and sentenced him to death with a fine of Tk 0.1 million in a case filed on charge of killing a third grader after rape.
The tribunal then sent the case records to the High Court for confirmation of the death sentence. The convicted accused also preferred the jail appeal and regular criminal appeal against his sentence.
After holding hearing on the death sentence and appeal petitions, the High Court on February 27 and 28 this year announced its verdict by rejecting the death reference. The High Court, however, affirmed the trial court verdict by commuting the death sentence to life imprisonment.
It also asked the authorities concerned, including the jail authority, to withdraw the convict, Md Lavlu, from the condemned cell immediately and shift him to the general prison.