Re­think regime of court fines

Jamaica Gleaner - - @ISSUE -

THE ED­I­TOR, Sir: IN DANIEL Th­waites’ col­umn ‘Driv­ing Miss Dudus’ (Sun­day Gleaner, Septem­ber 18, 2016), he com­mented on the lack of cor­re­la­tion be­tween a sen­tence and the as­so­ci­ated fine. He noted that with the con­tin­u­ing de­val­u­a­tion of our dol­lar, once-mean­ing­ful fines have be­come mean­ing­less.

For na­tional pride, we might not want to link it to the US dol­lar or maybe any other cur­rency. My sug­ges­tion is to im­ple­ment a fine ta­ble.

Our laws would be linked to a ta­ble that clas­si­fies the range of the fine that can be im­posed. Bi­en­ni­ally, the Bar As­so­ci­a­tion would re­view the ta­ble and rec­om­mend changes to the min­is­ter of jus­tice to be re­assessed by that de­part­ment and laid be­fore Par­lia­ment for ap­proval. That way, the fines would be more in line with re­al­ity.

Ini­tially, the cur­rent fines would be placed in a ta­ble and the cur­rent laws as­so­ci­ated with the ta­ble’s value. Over time, say, a 10-year pe­riod, each statute is re­viewed and linked to the rel­e­vant level in the ta­ble. This could re­sult in the re­lated level mov­ing up or down. In time, the fines would be­come not only rel­e­vant, but would go back to be­ing a de­ter­rent. AS­TON SMITH as­ton_se­nior@ya­


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