As part of efforts towards improving the Justice system, Anambra state government through the Ministry of Justice in collaboration with Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption, ROLAC, has launched “Plea Bargain” manual, and flagged-off operation of “Plea Bargain” as an alternative approach to criminal trial cases in the state.
Correspondent, Emmanuel Okonkwo reports that the “Plea Bargain” is a new approach to criminal trial cases in Anambra state, where the defendant in a criminal case who applies to the prosecutorial authority, showing his willingness to plead guilty to a particular offence is charged for a lesser or more lenient punishment being entered in his favour.
While the Plea Bargain manual lays down the framework for the operation of Plea Bargain by prescribing in its sixteen items the details as to commencement, negotiations, and conclusion of the process, by drafting and executing the Plea Bargain agreement.
In a remark, the Anambra state Attorney General, and Commissioner for Justice, Dr Uju Nwogu explained that the scheme is a step to further advance Governor Willie Obiano’s led administration’s undoubting commitment towards enhanced, effective and efficient justice delivery to Ndi Anambra, in conformity with the global trends, and reflects the realities of the evolving trends in the twenty-first century.
Dr Nwogu who disclosed that Anambra is second state to flag-off the Plea Bargain in Nigeria after Lagos, called on major actors in the administration of justice in the state to join hands to ensure the full realization of the purpose and objectives of the Plea Bargain, as according to her, the scheme will in no small measure benefit defendants, complainants, and the entire society.
The Anambra state Project Coordinator of Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption, Lady Josephine Onah who commended Anambra state government for all the efforts it is making towards advancing the justice system, emphasized the need for commitment of the Plea Bargain committee to ensure effectiveness of the scheme.
In a presentation, a Guest Speaker at the event, Dr Akeem Bello enlightened the participants on how to implement and sustain the scheme for the overall interest of the society.
In their various speeches, the Comptroller of Correctional Services Anambra state Command, Mr Pat Chukwuemaka, and Director, Special Project and Alternative Dispute Resolution of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Professor Ken Nwogu observed that the Plea Bargain will go a long way in decongesting the prisons, and reducing the number of inmates in awaiting trials and called on legal practitioners to assist in the advancement of justice system, by upholding professionalism at all times.
During the event, the Anambra state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Dr Nwogu nominated a nine-man committee that would ensure the implementation of the Plea Bargain scheme in the administration of justice in Anambra state.