Chief Magistrate Usaia Ratuvili while opening the Southern Division’s Restorative Justice Workshop at the Nasinu Town Council Chambers on June 26. Photo:SUPPLIED.
26th June 2015
“Too many are in remand and very young people are being exposed to an environment that we don’t want them to know of”.
These are the sentiments of Chief Magistrate Usaia Ratuvili while opening the Southern Division’s Restorative Justice Workshop at the Nasinu Town Council Chambers this morning.
With more youths finding themselves on the wrong side of the law, Mr Ratuvili said exploring the implementation of restorative justice could be seen as having a more positive effect for all parties involved than a prison sentence.
“The court has the power to order for compensation or restitution and the latter has been seen as a more effective sentence that a prison term”.
Mr Ratuvili gave an example of a case in an island setting where there have been an increased number of dalo thefts, whereby instead of handing the accused a prison sentence, an order was issued to plant twice the amount of dalo stolen from the victim.
He added the type of sentence will not only drive a sense of what hard work is all about but will ensure the victim of the crime is duly compensated.
“The Courts are increasingly being innovative in trying other methods of ensuring the victims feel they are adequately addressed and the accused are able to understand the pain endured as a result of their actions”.
Participants of today’s workshop include Southern Division Community Post officers, Community policing officers, Legal Aid officials and members of the Southern Division Crime Prevention Committee.
The Chief Magistrate said restorative justice was an avenue being explored by the justice system as it will hopefully address two important issues.
“A restorative justice is appropriate at this time because remand centres are full and continue to drain the state resources, and most importantly the victim does not see any benefits as it does not give the accused the opportunity to acknowledge they have done something wrong by addressing the needs of the victim”.
Focusing on the youth, Mr Ratuvili said the Courts are also doing their best to get young people away from an environment that could be a further negative influence to their lives.
The Chief Justice also used the opportunity to stress the importance of community partnerships.
“Community policing opens up channels of communication and this is vital so I want to remind police officers here today to ensure victims of crimes are updated about their case”.
“Often the lack of communication leads to frustration, letters being written and complaints, and this can easily be avoided”.
The workshop ends tomorrow.