THE Law Reform Commission yesterday launched a consultation paper on Homicide Offences, asking for public comments and submission on how the law should be changed.
The consultation paper is part of the commission’s efforts to reform the Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code.
Chairman of the Commission Frank Paulsen used yesterday’s launch to highlight the crucial need to reform our laws and to ensure laws are kept abreast of the changes that are happening in our ever and fast changing society.
“It does not take a rocket scientist to deduce that failure to keep our laws updated according to the changing circumstances in our society would only have one undesirable consequences, and that is chaos, and, ultimately, self-destruction,” Mr Paulsen.
Homicide offences, according to the commission, apply where someone causes the death of a person; the main offences being murder and manslaughter.
The commission said the Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code were enacted in the early 1960s and contain the current offences relating to homicide offences. They were adopted from British laws.
It added since the introduction of these laws, many political, social and legal changes have occurred within and outside of the country in relation to homicide offences.
Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs Ishmael Avui, who launched the paper, commended the Law Reform Commission on its difficult and challenging task to review our laws.
He said law reform is a continuum; it never stops.
“Laws need not only to be sensitive but also receptive to changes so that it is fair, relevant and up to date,” Mr Avui said.
“Laws based on outdated values will only let down the citizens it intends to serve and protect,” he added.
Mr Avui said the review of the country’s laws on homicide offences is long overdue.
“The nature, manger, and complexities associated with homicidal offences in this country have evolved since the 1960s and must be made to be relevant to this day and age.”
The minister urged the public to come forward and contribute to the review of our laws.
By SOLOMON LOFANA