DPP wants sentence reduction days initiative extended to other parishes
A call is being made for the judiciary to expand its Sentence Reduction Day initiative to all criminal courts islandwide after 40 persons yesterday pleaded guilty to murder and other violent crimes.
The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), says 26 persons entered guilty pleas in the Gun Court while 14 persons entered guilty pleas in the Home Circuit Court during the second instalment of Sentence Reduction Day.
In the Home Circuit, two persons pleaded guilty to murder, four pleaded guilty to manslaughter while a 17-year-old student was among five persons who admitted to having sex with a person below 16 years old.
In the Gun Court, which is held in camera, the cases ranged from illegal possession of firearm, to shooting with intent and robbery with aggravation.
DPP Paula Llewellyn, the nation’s chief prosecutor, said the number of persons who opted to take advantage of the sentence reduction initiative would have an enormous impact on the pile-up of cases in the Home Circuit Court, located in downtown Kingston.
She’s hoping the initiative can be rolled out in each parish circuit court islandwide once per term.
Sentence reduction day is among a number of measures being implemented by court officials to encourage more accused persons to plead guilty, thereby helping to clear the backlog of cases clogging up the criminal courts.
Approximately 2,000 cases are listed for trial in the circuit courts and 35,000 in the parish courts.
When the initiative was first introduced in May this year, only 11 persons opted to take advantage of it.
Accused persons who plead guilty on sentence reduction days are eligible for a discount of up to 50 per cent in their sentence.
The next sentence reduction day is set for today in the St Catherine Circuit Court.