Court

Prisons Praise Plea Bargaining as Principle Judge Promises More

Commisoner General of Prions Dr Johnson Byabashaija chats with Principle Judge Justice Yorokamu Bamwine at Imperial Royale after the conference. Photo by Ntezza Michael

The commissioner General of Prisons Dr Johnson Byabashaija has applauded the Plea bargaining program as one of the measures that have helped reduce congestion in most of Uganda’s Prison facilities.

Addressing stakeholders in the Criminal justice system at the third plea bargaining conference organized by the Pipeline University of USA at Imperial Royale Hotel Kampala, rx Byabashaija revealed that during its first 2 years, click this system has seen an increment in the number of conviction.

“I prefer having more convicts in Prisons than those on remand because the latter frustrate our budget in a number of ways like procuring buses to transport them to courts of law while convicts participate in production work on a number of prisons farms,” said the Prisons boss.

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Byabashaija adds that Plea bargaining has worked well on the people charged with capital offences like Murder, Rape, Aggravated Robbery, Aggravated defilement.

He noted however that some convicts of offences like Terrorism, Treachery and human trafficking have not yet embraced the system and thus called upon the concerned parties to set up a special committee to look into the cause of this.

At the event, the principle Judge Justice Yorokamu Bamwiine promised to address all the persisting hindrances affecting implementation of Plea bargaining.

He pointed out Mbarara and Jinja where convicts complained of harsh sentences handed to them after being engaged in plea bargaining.

The Director for Public Prosecution (DPP) Mike Chibita revealed that plea bargaining has helped in reducing on the costs incurred in prosecuting suspects, reducing the number of trial days, case back log, and also increased the conviction rate.

 “It’s also a sure answer the nightmare of case back log because justice delayed is justice denied,” he said.

The conference attracted judges at all levels, magistrates, advocates, Prosecutors, Practicing Advocates and law students from various institutions of learning.

Plea bargaining was introduced to Uganda’s criminal justice in 2014 to reduce congestion in prisons.

Under the program, suspects enter in agreement with the prosecution and voluntarily accept the charge against them in exchange for a lighter sentence.

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