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.