No more concurrent sentences for convicts

No more concurrent sentences for convicts
Vohrah (left) and Shaik Daud disagree on removing judicial discretion.

KUALA LUMPUR - Anyone found guilty of multiple offences will now have to serve time for each crime consecutively, with concurrent sentences disallowed under amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code.

For example, a person convicted of housebreaking and theft will have to serve out the sentence for each offence one after another.

And since housebreaking and theft carry a maximum of two years and seven years jail respectively, the person could end up behind bars for nine years.

The new paragraph (e) of Section 282 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill 2013 states: "When a person is convicted at one trial of any two or more offences, the court shall not order the sentences to run concurrently."

The Bill was tabled for first reading in the Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday.

Another proposed amendment in the Bill takes away from judges the discretion to apply Section 294, which deals with youthful first offenders.

With the amendment, a judge will no longer have the discretion to release such offenders on probation of good conduct if there is a minimum penalty provided for the offence.

This amendment came about after public outcry over what people perceived to be lenient sentences involving the rape of minors, although there is a mandatory five years minimum jail term.

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