JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Justice Ministry is encouraging accused or imprisoned co-conspirators such as gang members to consider plea agreements in order to expedite cases through the courts and reduce backlog.
  • Speaking in a recent interview with JIS News, portfolio Minister, Hon. Delroy Chuck, said that plea bargaining has proven to help resolve cases.
  • “The convicted persons, especially those who have been sentenced in the correctional institutions, have a great deal of knowledge about where criminal material can be discovered and also who have committed crimes in their communities. If they have the gumption or the courage to really assist the society in ridding it of guns and criminals, then they should approach the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP),” the Minister said.

The Justice Ministry is encouraging accused or imprisoned co-conspirators such as gang members to consider plea agreements in order to expedite cases through the courts and reduce backlog.

Speaking in a recent interview with JIS News, portfolio Minister, Hon. Delroy Chuck, said that plea bargaining has proven to help resolve cases.

“The convicted persons, especially those who have been sentenced in the correctional institutions, have a great deal of knowledge about where criminal material can be discovered and also who have committed crimes in their communities. If they have the gumption or the courage to really assist the society in ridding it of guns and criminals, then they should approach the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP),” the Minister said.

Plea bargaining involves negotiations, often between the attorney for the accused and the prosecutor, where the defendant agrees to plead guilty in exchange for an agreement by the prosecutor to vary the charges or sentence.

Section 20 of the Plea Negotiations and Agreement Act (2017) outlines that persons who have been charged or convicted, can approach the prosecution to offer assistance on a case in exchange for a reduction in their sentence or a less severe charge.

Charged persons can negotiate lighter charges, while convicts can have their sentences reduced.

Minister Chuck told JIS News that the Government will be working to increase awareness about the benefits of plea bargaining by targeting charged and convicted persons.

“We intend to do some flyers and put them in the courthouses for persons who are charged with crimes and also circulate flyers in the prisons, inviting convicted persons and emphasising that we are only interested in truth and in reliable material,” he said.

The Minister cautioned that if persons come forward with misleading information in an attempt to save themselves, the DPP can ask for an increase in the person’s sentence.

Meanwhile, Director of Legal Services in the Ministry, Karen N. Wilson, pointed out that there are other advantages to plea bargaining in addition to the speedy disposal of cases.

“When somebody pleads guilty, that can be seen as the first step towards rehabilitation. Pleading guilty, if it is done for all the right reasons, can show that the person is really remorseful. You can correct a man when he shows remorse and so his rehabilitation will be more successful and his reintegration into society will almost be guaranteed,” she noted.

Ms. Wilson pointed out that Section 11 of the Act outlines that judges have the power to refuse a plea agreement.

“Before accepting the agreement, the judge must be satisfied that the plea is voluntary and did not result from force or any promises outside of the promises made in the agreement. The accused must understand the nature, substance and the consequence of entering into the agreement, and there must be a factual basis upon which the agreement was made. The acceptance of the agreement must not be contrary to the interest of justice,” Ms. Wilson said.

If the judge does not accept a Plea Agreement and the case goes to trial, then another judge will try the case.

Skip to content