The judge and the machine: AI is making its way into the courtroom

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 15 Feb 2020

KOTA KINABALU: Artificial intelligence (AI) is set to make its way into the Malaysian courtroom with the launch of an AI machine at a Magistrate Court here on Wednesday (Feb 19).

"It is going to be big step for the Malaysian judiciary," said Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri David Wong Dak Wah.

Wong said that the AI machine would recommend the likely sentence for a magistrate whenever a person was found guilty of a crime.

"The use of AI will be the first in Asia. To my knowledge no other country apart from the United States uses AI (in the courtroom)," he said.

The full details and the standard operating procedures (SOP) would be explained during the launch, he said after launching the Borneo Colloquium on Environmental Justice here on Saturday (Feb 15).

"What is the standard of SOP for this sort of AI proceedings? We will be explaining it fully so that public will understand," he added.

On the judicial discussion on the environmental issues, Wong said the colloquium was to educate judges on the new areas of the law regarding the environment and to prepare them to hear cases when it came around.

"There is a lot non-governmental organisations and lawyers who are active in this area (environment), and they are many lawyers and NGOs willing to take up environment cases," he added.

He said that there was already an Environmental Court in Malaysia where a Sessions Court judge would sit in for the court as there were not many environmental cases so far in the country.

The colloquium saw an Environment Court judge from New Zealand, L.J Newhook, and former Chief Justice of Malaysia Tan Sri Richard Malanjum relate their experiences in handling environment cases.

Wong said he hoped the discussions would expand the perspective on environment and the law and would ensure a more holistic approach in the administration of environmental justice.

"Sometime in June last year at Kudat, Sabah, I launched the 'Wildlife Sentencing Guideline', the first of its kind in Malaysia. This guideline was a product of discussions between the Court, the Sabah Law Society and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

He added that while the guideline was not binding, it was still a useful guideline which would hopefully help the courts achieve proportionality and consistency in passing sentences in environment-related cases.

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