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  • Government Senator, Lambert Brown, is urging persons appearing in court for offences, to plead guilty, if they committed the acts for which they were cited.
  • This, he says, is to avoid unnecessary hearings, and enable the courts to deal with other cases.
  • He underscored these points during his contribution to the debate on the Criminal Justice (Administration) (Amendment) Act, 2015, and the accompanying Bill, the Judicature (Appellate Jurisdiction) (Amendment) Act, 2015, at Friday’s (June 5) sitting of the Senate.

Government Senator, Lambert Brown, is urging persons appearing in court for offences, to plead guilty, if they committed the acts for which they were cited.

This, he says, is to avoid unnecessary hearings, and enable the courts to deal with other cases.

He underscored these points during his contribution to the debate on the Criminal Justice (Administration) (Amendment) Act, 2015, and the accompanying Bill, the Judicature (Appellate Jurisdiction) (Amendment) Act, 2015, at Friday’s (June 5) sitting of the Senate.

Senator Brown cited a recent case where, after going on trial in the Court of Appeal, an offender, who initially pleaded not guilty, confessed to committing the crime, at the sentencing.

“If he had (known) that by pleading guilty, the sentence could be reduced significantly, (by) up to 50 per cent, in some cases, then it might have encouraged him to do the right thing from the very beginning, and not tie up the resources of the court,” he said.

Mr. Brown said under the new regime, an incentive is being given to persons on trial, to plead guilty.

The Criminal Justice (Administration) (Amendment) Act, 2015 makes provision for sentence reduction on guilty pleas.

The Bill also seeks to provide for a review by the Court of Appeal, in limited circumstances, of a prescribed minimum penalty imposed by the court, on conviction of a defendant for an offence.

The Judicature (Appellate Jurisdiction) (Amendment) Act, 2015 makes provision, in limited circumstances, for a person who has been tried and convicted for an offence  carrying a prescribed minimum penalty (a sentence that is fixed by law), to appeal to the Court of Appeal, against such sentence.

The Senate passed The Criminal Justice (Administration) (Amendment) Act, 2015, with 11 amendments, while the Judicature (Appellate Jurisdiction) (Amendment) Act, 2015, was approved without amendments.