Chief Justice, Hon. Zaila McCalla, is calling on members of the legal profession to play a greater role in educating the wider public about sentencing guidelines.
She noted that there were legislative provisions that allow for reduced sentences for persons who plead guilty.
“You cannot for example, if an accused pleads guilty to manslaughter, after a charge of murder, you cannot sentence the accused based on murder because it is a provision of our law,” she said, explaining that “provocation” reduces murder to manslaughter, adding that “these are all legal principles.”
The Plea Negotiations and Agreement Act, gives accused persons the opportunity to offer a guilty plea in exchange for a lighter sentence.
Mrs Justice McCalla was speaking at a special sitting of the Court of Appeal that was held in her honour at Public Building West, downtown Kingston on January 26.
The Chief Justice added that she was depending on members of the Bar and the media to educate the Jamaica citizenry, so they can understand and will not be “traumatised” by what they read in the papers at times.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Justice McCalla commended members of the profession who are committed and dedicated to their work and the mission of the court.
During the special sitting, members of the Judiciary bade farewell to the outgoing Chief Justice.
Chief Justice McCalla, has served the Judiciary in Jamaica with distinction for over 40 years. The sitting was used to show appreciation for the stellar work and legacy she leaves behind. She is expected to demit office on January 31.