Stakeholders in the Oyo State judiciary have stressed the need for the state and country to have a proper central record of all convicted prisoners.
They made the call on Friday at the closing of the 2022 Oyo State Lower Court Judges Week in Ibadan, Oyo State.
The stakeholders were discussing on the topic: “Sentencing Guidelines: Objective Procedure For Apportioning Punishment.”
Kazeem Gbadamosi (SAN) said lawyers, judges and even the police should have adequate records of offenders and convicts in order not to be handicapped in the passing of judgments.
Gbadamosi called on the government to put into use effective rules of administration of criminal justice through the keeping of records.
In sentencing offenders, he remarked that the society, time and offences trending in the community might be considered by the judges.
A legal practitioner, Adebayo Adegbite, stressed the need for the country to establish sentencing councils or committee in different states and federation to formulate, review periodically sentencing guidelines.
This, he added, would ensure uniformity of sentence in similar offences.
Adegbite emphasised that in sentencing, the judge/magistrate should always consider the law first, saying there were instances where the judge could have discretion.
“In jurisdiction, where sentencing guidelines are not entrenched, the judges have large discretion exercise,” he said.
He also underscored the need for judges/magistrates to be attending periodic training while sentencing hearing should be made mandatory.
The former Chairman, Nigeria Bar Association, Ibadan branch, Yinka Esan, stressed the need for the state to have resemblance of judgements given, especially by the magistrates.
“We really need to have sentencing guidelines for the administration of criminal justice in the state, even down to the court of appeal,” Esan said.
Corroborating, Justice Bayo Taiwo of the Oyo State High Court, said proper record of convicts and the sentencing guidelines would make the judge not to be biased.
“The judge as a human being, could be emotional in some cases but when there is a guideline to follow, he/she will just have to follow due process, so it’s important to have guidelines,” Taiwo said.
Similarly, Lawal Ibrahim, a former executive of the Ibadan NBA branch, said there was the need to have a standard to regulate the way and manner of justice dispensation.
“We need sentencing guidelines in the state to ensure uniformity of sentence in similar offences,” Ibrahim said.