Understanding what judges consider in sentencing

The increased community interest in sentencing cases is welcome, and should be accompanied by a better understanding of the principles that guide sentencing decisions

There appears to be a marked increase in interest recently in local sentencing cases among the public in Singapore. As sentencing scholars Julian Roberts and Jan de Keijser, from the University of Oxford and Leiden University respectively, have pointed out, sentencing is a process where a court imposes a legal punishment on behalf of the community in which the crime is committed. Therefore, in my view, it can be a positive and encouraging development when members of a community become more interested in the sentencing system. To this end, it might be useful to take this opportunity to elaborate on three broad aspects of sentencing.

The first is that sentencing is a very fact-sensitive exercise. Courts around the world have observed that in sentencing, no two cases are ever exactly alike.

Please or to continue reading the full article. Learn more about ST PREMIUM.

Enjoy unlimited access to ST's best work

  • Exclusive stories and features on multiple devices
  • In-depth analyses and opinion pieces
  • ePaper and award-winning multimedia content
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 15, 2020, with the headline 'Understanding what judges consider in sentencing'. Print Edition | Subscribe