Gov't considering sentencing discounts for offenders pleading guilty
Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter
Persons convicted of certain serious crimes such as non-capital murder, firearm-related offences and various sexual offences including rape, could benefit from new laws aimed at giving discounted sentences.
Speaking in the Senate today, Justice Minister Mark Golding said the Criminal Justice Administration and Judicature laws are to be tabled in parliament soon.
He said that if approved by parliament, the amended laws would empower judges to impose sentencing discounts for guilty pleas.
The minister, who was responding to questions tabled by Opposition Senator Robert Montague, said the statutory imposition of minimum mandatory sentences for firearm offences has resulted in a reluctance to plead guilty.
He said that this is taking place even in clear and strong cases as accused persons facing a minimum sentence of 15 years often prefer to take their chances with the various vulnerabilities of the criminal justice process.
"The result is that many cases go to trial that ought to have been resolved early in the process by way of a guilty plea," Golding said.
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