Court

Judge calls for better sentencing guidelines

  • Call for more guidance: Judge Carlisle Greaves

A judge has called for improved sentencing guidelines on drugs cases.

Puisne judge Carlisle Greaves said in a recent sentencing hearing that a table of guidelines for such cases would make the process simpler and remove uncertainty.

Mr Justice Greaves said: “As it presently stands, the darting about mathematically between different quantities measured by grams is too tedious an exercise for a criminal disposition and is likely to bring about some uncertainty to defendants when it comes to the course they may wish to take.

“Despite the many helpful Court of Appeal judgments, there appear to be too many cases, some of which have not been appealed, which tend to lead to a little too much confusion in this jurisdiction and tend to raise spectres of some inconsistency.”

The judge said he did not believe it would be difficult for a committee to conduct the necessary research and come to a consensus on appropriate sentencing guidelines.

The comments came during a sentencing hearing last month, in which Mr Justice Greaves sentenced Ryan Willingham-Walker and former customs officer Roberto Marques for drug offences.

Marques had admitted possessing cocaine with intent to supply, while Willingham-Walker pled guilty to possessing cannabis with intent to supply.

Prosecutors had called for a sentence of no less than 12 years for Marques, while defence lawyer Charles Richardson argued for a sentence below eight years.

Both sides referred the court to different cases, which involved a range of sentences and drug quantities.

After deliberation, Mr Justice Greaves sentenced Marques to ten years behind bars and Willingham-Walker to 18 months in prison.