This Honourable House is asked to note that a Cabinet Submission is to be tabled to pass new Plea Bargaining Legislation in Jamaica.
The principle of Plea Bargaining is a time honoured common law tradition and has been utilized in many jurisdictions to reduce the caseload of the Courts; have offenders take responsibility for their actions, which is an important pre-requisite for rehabilitation; save the complainant the trauma of re-living the traumatic experience in a pressurized setting; and to save the time and resources of the State by avoiding lengthy trials.
MS, the Criminal Justice (Plea Negotiations and Agreements) Act, 2005 was passed in 2005 and amended in 2010. It only came into effect in 2010 when the Regulations were passed. It has been rarely used.
The Act allows an accused person to enter into an agreement with the prosecution for a reduced penalty where information or other co-operation is given (make a plea deal).
Between 2010 and 2013, only 10 plea agreements under the Act were entered.