Defence attorneys should stop fighting every case - Champagnie
Defence attorney, Peter Champagnie, says it’s time his colleagues at the defence bar break what he describes as the bad habit of fighting every case and begin advising their clients to plead guilty in appropriate circumstances.
Champagnie was speaking at a town hall meeting held in Kingston last evening where the Plea Negotiations and Agreements Act 2017 was discussed.
Noting that the plea bargaining legislation was passed in June, Champagnie said he could not recall a case in which it has been used.
Describing the situation as sad, Champagnie said it should be mandatory for students at the Norman Manley Law School to learn about the legislation so they do not continue the cycle of fighting every case.
In the meantime, Justice Minister Delroy Chuck also wants prosecutors to make an offer of reduced sentences to every accused person wanting to plead guilty after completing their files.
He says the prosecution and defence counsel can then negotiate a reduced sentence and, if they cannot agree, take it to a judge for a decision.
Chuck says where the accused person does not accept the sentence decided by the judge, they would be tried before a judge who was not part of the plea negotiation.