Chief justice outlines new plea bargain arrangement
Chief Justice Bryan Sykes says steps are being taken to assist defendants to embrace the plea-bargaining arrangement, which will allow them to get as much as a 50 per cent reduction in their sentences if they plead guilty in court.
“We have the communication persons here. We will be developing some information to be distributed to defendants when they come to court telling them about these things,” said Sykes while speaking at the Judiciary of Jamaica National Public Education Symposium on Wednesday at the Trelawny Parish Court in Falmouth.
“I’m not saying that the lawyers don’t tell them, but sometimes, if they get that information from the courts, they may begin to believe the lawyers a bit more, so we want to assist the lawyers in that regard,” added Sykes.
Indicating that the offer was not designed to get innocent people to plead guilty, the chief justice said that the initiative, which was first outlined by Justice Minister Delroy Chuck, was a reasonable offer in helping to dispense justice in a timely fashion.
Sykes said that he was committed to ensuring that defendants understood what they were doing legally when considering the plea bargain discount route. Chuck recently expressed disappointment that the amended plea-bargaining system, which was introduced in April of 2017, had not achieved the success that he had envisioned.
The chief justice said that the information on the plea-bargaining legislation that will be provided is expected to become available ahead of the Michaelmas session of the Circuit Court in September.