Pilot use of AI in Sabah, Sarawak court sentencing

Tengku Maimun and Wong addressing the press conference.

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By Dorcas Ting

KUCHING, Jan 17: The courts in Sabah and Sarawak will try out the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to determine the appropriate sentencing.

Chief Justice of Malaysia Tan Sri Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat said the data analysis provided through the AI would serve as guideline for judicial officers in their decisions.

In addition, with the AI analysis, lawyers and the accused can predict the outcome of the crime committed before they decide to plead guilty to the charge or not, she added.

“The High Court of Sabah and Sarawak are more advanced in term of technology as compared to the courts in West Malaysia, as they have started to use technology in their case management system.

“Sabah and Sarawak courts started to use technology around the year 2016. We should move along with technology advancement.

“If the system is coming to us, I do not see any reasons why we should not embark on this,” she told a press at the Kuching High Court complex after the opening of the 2020 Legal Year ceremony today.

However, she agreed that the court cannot rely on technology 100 per cent, as there must be human element in passing judgement.

“As we all know, this is a pilot project, so we will embark on this project as we go along and see how it can be improved or otherwise.

“What we can see at this juncture, is how this increases and enhance the efficiency of officers in dealing with cases and passing sentence and make things easier for officers handling the case,” she continued.

Tengku Maimun said this is the kind of compendium or guidelines especially for judges to award damages for accident claims.

Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak, Tan Sri David Wong Dak Wah, said complaint of disparity for sentencing inconsistency always happened. He hoped the AI system provides a more consistent sentencing by the court.

He said the system is ready and will be available to judges within a week’s time.

“When the recommended section is out, the system will be available to lawyers and accused to know in advance the likely outcome of the sentencing,” he continued.

The country has 159 judges in the Federal Court, Court of Appeal, Judicial Commissioner and High Court.

The artificial intelligence for sentencing data is a pilot project of SAINS, where the judicial officer will key-in the data of the accused and crime committed. The AI algorithm will then recommend the sentencing based on estimated probability.

Before passing sentence, the judge can see the recommendation of sentencing, the analysis of the case, trend or rampancy of the crime, data sentencing profile and other references. — DayakDaily