Paying fine for killing unintentionally
I am charged with an offence of manslaughter and I am thinking of entering into a plea bargaining with the Prosecutor for me to pay a fine as an alternative sentence instead of serving life imprisonment which I am told is the maximum penalty for the offence of killing unintentionally (manslaughter). However, I doubt if the law permits a person who is charged with manslaughter to pay a fine. Can you advise me before I decide to ask for plea bargaining?
The maximum penalty for the offence of manslaughter as provided for under section 198 of the Penal Code, Cap.16 [R.E. 2022] is life imprisonment. However, section 27(1) of the Penal Code confers criminal Courts with power to impose fines and other forms of non-custodial sentences including community service as an alternative to custodial sentence provided the penalty provided for offence charged is not a statutory minimum sentence.
Moreover, section 194D(6) of the Criminal Procedure Act, Cap.20 [R.E. 2022] requires criminal Courts to sentence the offenders convicted on plea bargaining in accordance with the sentence agreed in the plea bargaining agreement regardless of the penalty provided for under the law creating the offence charged. Although under the law it is not illegal to impose a fine sentence for the offence of manslaughter, we think it is unlikely that the Prosecutor will agree with your proposal for payment of a fine for the offence of manslaughter unless it is a really unfortunate killing. It will depend on how the prosecutor perceives this. We wish you all the best.