The Plea Negotiations and Agreement Act, 2017, which provides for a system of plea bargaining for persons who commit crimes, was passed in the Senate on Friday (June 2).
The Bill was passed with 71 amendments, following conclusion of the debate which had been suspended in the Upper House on May 26. This was due to concerns raised by Senators over certain sections of the Bill.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, in piloting the Bill, explained that it is intended to give accused persons the opportunity to offer a guilty plea in exchange for a lighter sentence.
Senator Johnson Smith, who is also Leader of Government Business in the Senate, noted that the legislation will assist in the delivery of justice in a timely manner, and reduce the backlog of cases in the nation’s courts.
The Bill was passed in the House of Representatives earlier this year with 11 amendments. It will now be sent back to the Lower House for further review.