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East Malaysia to use AI in courts
January 17, 2020 News


The Malaysian judiciary system is expected to see the use of Artificial Intelligence in determining appropriate sentences for criminal offences as the courts in Sabah and Sarawak will pilot program this year.

According to a report on The Star, the Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri David Wong said data analysis by the AI application would serve as a guideline to judicial officers in deciding on sentences.

As there are often complaints in disparity and inconsistency whenever a sentence is passed, the Chief Judge hope this use of AI will help improve efficiency and consistency in sentencing.

“With this, hopefully we will have consistent sentences being meted out by the court, and not one magistrate giving a fine and another giving two years’ imprisonment,” he said during a demonstration of the AI application in Sarawak.

The AI pilot project will be used for two offences, drug possession under Section 12 of the Dangerous Drugs Act and rape under Section 376 of the Penal Code and will analyse data for these offences gathered from cases registered in Sabah and Sarawak from 2014 to 2019.

The data analyse will include relevant information and pre-determined parameters, such as the age of the accused, type and weight of drugs in cases of drug possession or the age of victim and whether hurt was caused in rape offences to come up with a recommended sentence.

The Chief Judge added the judiciary was now in the process of creating ground rules for the use of the application, including making known to the accused and their lawyers what the likely sentence would be if they plead guilty.

The data sentencing feature is currently being fine-tuned and the rules are expected to be ready in a week or so.

AI data sentencing technology has been previously used in the US and China, but to mixed reactions which is why the chief judge feels the human element still does have an important role to play.