Report No. 48
It is now being increasingly recognised that a rational and consistent sentencing policy requires the removal of several deficiencies in the present system. One such deficiency is a lack of comprehensive information as to the characteristics and background of the offender.
The aims of sentencing-themselves obscure-become all the more so in the absence of comprehensive information on which the correctional process is to operate. The public as well as the courts themselves are in the dark about judicial approach in this regard.
We are of the view that the taking of evidence as to the circumstances relevant to sentencing should be encouraged, and both the prosecution and the accused should be allowed to cooperate in the process. The Bill does provide for hearing the accused as to sentence1, but does not contain a specific provision as to evidence. But, in our opinion,-
(i) both the parties should be heard, as to sentence, and
(ii) and if a request is made in that behalf by either the prosecution or the accused, an opportunity for leading evidence on the question should be given.
We recommend accordingly.
We are aware that a provision for an opportunity to give evidence in this respect may necessitate an adjournment; and to avoid delay, adjournment for the purpose should, ordinarily, be for not more than 14 days. It may be so provided in the relevant clause.
1. Cr. P.C. Bill, 1970, clause 241(2) and clause 256(2).