Sentencing

Frameworks based on gravity of offences put in place

The courts this year issued sentencing frameworks, complete with punishment bands, based on the gravity of offences.

The new sentencing guidelines dealt with rape offenders and defaulting national servicemen, among other things.

The top court replaced benchmarks issued 10 years ago for various rape offences with three flexible sentencing bands where rapes are classified on a "continuum of seriousness."

The Court of Appeal issued in May the new framework in dealing with the appeal of cobbler Terence Ng, who was convicted of the statutory rape of a minor and a related charge.

In July, the High Court set a new sentencing framework for those who default on their national service obligations in the case of three men who had evaded service.

A three-judge panel set out four bands based on the length of the period of default with a starting point of two to four months' jail for those who evade NS for two to six years.

The top court replaced benchmarks issued 10 years ago for various rape offences with three flexible sentencing bands where rapes are classified on a "continuum of seriousness."

On the other end of the four-band spectrum, those who default for 17 to 23 years or more face two to three years' jail, based on the circumstances.

K.C. Vijayan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 30, 2017, with the headline 'Frameworks based on gravity of offences put in place'. Print Edition | Subscribe