150 plead guilty under new justice programme

Monday September 1 2014

By ANTHONY WESAKA

Kampala- More than 150 suspects under Nakawa High Court circuit have pleaded guilty for criminal offences under the first ever plea bargain programme initiated by the Judiciary and Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) as a strategy for reducing the huge case backlog in the country.

The pilot plea bargain programme was rolled out in May, with 261 suspects willing to plead guilty for the offences they committed.

However, out of the 261 suspects, 150 (60.4 per cent) successfully, went through the programme and were handed lighter sentences.

The regions that fall under the Nakawa High Court circuit that were targeted included; Entebbe, Kiboga, Mubende, and Mpigi.

Cost effective programme
The programme was handled by five High Court judges, 20 defense lawyers and 10 state prosecutors.

Speaking at the forum on Friday, the DPP, Mr Mike Chibita, said this strategy is cost effective compared to the normal full trial.

Advertisement

Justice Chibita said they used about Shs50 million in this pilot programme as opposed to Shs261 million that could have been used if they had gone through the normal trial.

He also pleaded with the relevant stakeholders to embrace the programme, explaining that in Los Angeles California in the United States of America, about 90 per cent of the cases are settled through this programme and yet they have higher numbers of judges and prosecutors compared to Uganda.

Principal Judge Yorokamu Bamwine asked judges to embrace the programme as a strategy of tackling the case backlog that was standing at 168,141 by December last year.

awesaka@ug.nationmedia.com

Advertisement