Case Backlog: Judiciary Reviews Plea-bargaining Draft Law


stuff geneva;”>The committee will be chaired by Hon. Justice Y Bamwine – the Principal Judge.

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thumb geneva;”>A plea bargain (also plea agreement, plea deal or copping a plea) is an agreement in a criminal case between the prosecutor and defendant whereby the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a particular charge in return for some concession from the prosecutor.

This may mean that the defendant will plead guilty to a less serious charge, or to one of several charges, in return for the dismissal of other charges; or it may mean that the defendant will plead guilty to the original criminal charge in return for a more lenient sentence.

A plea bargain allows both parties to avoid a lengthy criminal trial and may allow criminal defendants to avoid the risk of conviction at trial on a more serious charge. For example, a criminal defendant charged with a felony theft charge, the conviction of which would require imprisonment in state prison, may be offered the opportunity to plead guilty to a misdemeanor theft charge, which may not carry jail time.

Judicial officials told Chimpreports the move is in the spirit of delivering justice in thousands of pending cases.

Uganda has been facing a crisis of numbers in the judiciary, leaving thousands of cases unattended to thus denying justice to victims.

The members of the task force are Justice L Gidudu (Judiciary), Ms. Harriet Lwabi (Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs), Mr. H P Adonyo (Judiciary), Mr. P W Gadenya (JLOS Secretariat), Mr. Okoth Ochola (Deputy Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Bruce Kyerere (Uganda Law Society), Ms. Joan Kagezi (International War Crimes Division of the High Court) and Mr. Andrew Khaukha- Uganda Law Reform Commission (Secretary).

The Task force is expected to complete its work by 26th July 2013.

Nevertheless, legal experts say plea bargaining can present a dilemma to defense attorneys, in that they must choose between vigorously seeking a good deal for their present client, or maintaining a good relationship with the prosecutor for the sake of helping future clients.


On January 27th 2011, the Bench and the Bar with support from the Justice Law and Order Sector (JLOS) and the Judiciary, organized a one day meeting at the Imperial Royale Hotel, Kampala, to discuss ways and means of expediting the delivery of justice in Uganda and improving the relationship between the Bench and Bar in Uganda.

The function was presided over by Odoki and attended by several judges, registrars and members of the public and private bar and the Senior Technical Advisor among others.

The Chief Justice at the meeting observed that whereas the Judiciary had taken steps to expedite the adjudication of cases through the case backlog quick wins reduction programme and alternative dispute resolution; challenges still remained in the administration of justice.

He informed the meeting that the Judiciary has prioritized rolling out mediation in all Courts of Judicature, plea bargaining, rationalizing the deployment of judicial officers, rationalizing the composition of High Court Divisions, expanding the JLOS Case Backlog Quick Wins Reduction Programme to the entire country and setting up an internal disciplinary Committee to deal with errant judicial officers.


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