Tougher sentencing needed for firearm-related offences


Tougher sentencing needed for firearm-related offences

Police Commissioner Gary Griffith is calling for tougher sentencing for firearm related offences.

Griffith’s comments were made hours after the Bail (Amendment) Act became law yesterday. He said the Judiciary needs to do its part to ensure that repeat offenders re­main be­hind bars. As it stands, the law was too easy on these criminals. He gave an example of a man who was con­vict­ed of be­ing in pos­ses­sion of an il­le­gal gun and am­mu­ni­tion who was im­pris­oned for on­ly 18 months. He said the sentence is equivalent to those given for pos­ses­sion of small quan­ti­ties of nar­cotics and fraud of­fences.

Griffith argued that illegal firearms were used in over 80% of this country’s murders, and if tried, the suspect could be sentenced and be out of prison in over a year. He is calling on the Judiciary to reflect on its role in the meting out justice to these offenders.

Given the rise of murders in the country with the use of firearms, he pre­vi­ous­ly ar­gued that the leg­is­la­tion will be important in the fight against crime. The law gives police the authority to lock up known firearm of­fend­ers for up to four months. The Bail (Amend­ment) Act has a sun­set clause of three years and must be re-ap­proved by Par­lia­ment at the end of the term if it proves to be ef­fec­tive.