Mandeville Weekly News

JUSTICE MINISTER ENCOURAGES MORE GUILTY PLEAS

Posted by SR (riley) on Jan 20 2017 at 1:25 AM
Mandeville Weekly News >>

Minister of Justice, Hon. Delroy Chuck, is urging persons who have committed crimes to offer guilty pleas where the evidence against them is of such that they are unlikely to mount a successful defence. The Minister said that by pleading guilty, their sentences could be reduced and there is speedier disposal of the case, which helps to reduce the backlog in the courts.Minister Chuck said he had to give such advice to his clients while practising as a defence lawyer.  “Once the cases against the accused are strong, I am going to call on accused persons, through their attorneys-at-law, to take responsibility,” he noted.

Minister Chuck said that he will be encouraging the legal community to assist persons in obtaining reduced penalties by admitting to their guilt, while also raising public awareness about the benefits of entering guilty pleas. Changes are to be made to the Criminal Justice (Plea Negotiations and Agreement) Act, which allows persons accused of crimes to plead guilty and give testimony or information in return for a reduced penalty.

The amendments will, among other things, allow for the defence counsel to be part of the plea-bargaining process and to negotiate with the prosecutor and judge regarding the sentence to be imposed.The objectives are to make the legislation more effective and to speed up the pace at which justice is delivered. “Show contrition now and when the plea bargaining bill, which I am trying to fast-track, comes out, utilise it and get the benefit, if any, of pleading guilty,” Minister Chuck urged.

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