Deputy Minister of Justice, Diana Asonaba Dapaah says the newly enacted plea bargain law aims at preventing protracted trials and promoting restorative justice.
According to her, the law seeks to reinstate restorative justice where victims and plaintiffs will have a voice in the criminal-justice delivery system.
“Plea bargain ensures that a very critical stakeholder of the justice delivery system which is the victim or complainant will also get justice. So it is a reformative step within the criminal-justice delivery system where victims are included in the whole process of the system.
“We know that in Ghana when you are cited for an offense it is seen as one committed against the state. In the past, the interest of the victim was disregarded. But now, with the plea bargain, the victim, complainant or their representative can make an input into the agreement negotiated between the prosecutor and the defendant,” she explained on JoyNews‘ The Law.
President Akufo-Addo on Friday, July 22, assented to the Criminal and other Offences (Procedure) (Amendment) Act, 2022 (Act 1079) to provide for plea bargaining in the administration of criminal justice.
The law, among other things, ensures the speedy trial of cases and help decongest prisons.
Under this new law, the state will be able to save resources by preventing protracted trials. Accused persons can enjoy benefits such as a reduction of the offence charged to a lesser one or the withdrawal of some of the charges against them.
- In a statement issued by the Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, on July 26, 2022 said Act 1079 creates exemptions to plea negotiations for offences in the nature of high treason, high crime, rape, defilement, genocide, robbery, kidnapping, murder, attempted murder, abduction, piracy, abduction, hijacking and election-related offences.
“I respectfully inform the general public that in order to ensure a sound and efficient application of the law, a series of training programmes will be organised for judges, prosecutors in the Office of Attorney General, the Ghana Police Service, the Ghana Prisons Service and other stakeholders in the legal profession before the law is fully implemented,” the AG said.