By Lukman Olabiyi
The Lagos State Administration of Criminal Justice (Amendment) Law (ACJL) 2021 has empowered trial judges to award compensation to victims of crimes who suffer injuries as a result of an action of a guilty defendant.
The state’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), made the disclosure while addressing journalists on some unique features of the ACJL, signed into law recently by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
The Attorney General said Section 372 of the law now gave power to judges to award commensurate compensation in criminal cases where victims have suffered losses or injuries, unlike in the past where this only applied to people who suffered financial losses.
Onigbanjo said: “So, it no longer applies to people who suffered financial damages but, also, to people who suffer injuries by the action relating to that crime. In doing so, the court, in considering the award of compensation to the victim may call for additional evidence to enable it to determine the quantum of compensation to award.”
The Attorney General also disclosed that the ACJL, in section 370, mandated the state to establish a crime data register. He further stated that the register will also serve as a criminal records database and organisations in the state may apply to obtain criminal records, particularly, for sex offenders.
He also cited section 298, which empowers the court to make an order of interim forfeiture of properties before the commencement or conclusion of a trial, where there is reasonable ground to believe such property has been used or provided for the commission of the offence charged.