Lagos unveils plea, sentence bargaining manual
As part of its efforts to fasten criminal justice administration and decongest prisons in the state, Lagos state government has unveiled manual for ‘Plea and Sentence Bargaining’.
The State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Adeniji Kazeem said the manual, the first if its kind in the country, provides practical information about what plea bargain entails.
He said the procedure for applying and general information would make the process less complicated for all stakeholders.
According to him, Section 75 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State, 2015 empowers his office to consider and accept plea bargain proposals from and on behalf of a defendant.
He noted that plea-bargaining is not new to criminal justice system of the state, but that lawyers have poorly utilized its applicability more than a decade after it came into being.
“Given that the length of time awaiting trial inmates and detainees remain in prison custody is mainly dependent on the length of court proceedings, it is important as stakeholders to embrace creative provisions in our law to decongest the prisons. It is against this backdrop that the plea bargain protocol and manual was designed,” he said.
In his remark, the acting Chief Registrar of the Lagos State High Court, Mrs Abiola Soladoye said she believes in decongestion and plea-bargaining and that it is not in all offences that offenders should be sent to prison.
She said the courts, particularly at the magistracy level will collaborate with government to ensure success of implementation of the manual .
Also, the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Bolaji Salami and Lagos State Controller of Prisons, Tunde Ladipo promised that their department would collaborate with government to ensure successful implementation of the manual.
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