As part of the Government’s legislative agenda to modernize and make more efficient the criminal justice system, a draft Criminal Procedure (Plea Discussion and Plea Agreement) Bill has been prepared by the Attorney General Chambers and Ministry of Legal Affairs.

The Bill seeks to repeal the Criminal Procedure (Plea Bargaining and Plea Agreement) Act, Cap 10:09 and re-enact legislation which addresses the gaps in the current law to effectively expedite criminal proceedings, protect the rights of the individual and ensure offenders are properly sentenced in accordance with the law.

The Bill seeks to provide for the establishment of a system of plea discussion and plea agreements in criminal proceedings. Its primary intent is to provide the opportunity for prosecutors and accused persons to meet under specific circumstances and negotiate a settlement acceptable to the principles of justice. This will inevitably save judicial time, reduce the backlog of criminal cases, and reduce the prison population on remand while at the same time ensuring that accused persons face penalties proportionate to the crimes committed.

Only recently, judges of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) lauded the manner in which plea bargain mechanisms have worked in other jurisdictions, contributing significantly to speed and efficiency in the administration of criminal justice.

The Attorney General Chambers and Ministry of Legal Affairs in April, 2023 invited comments in writing on the draft Criminal Procedure (Plea Discussion and Plea Agreement) Bill. Submissions were solicited from the Chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), the Office of the Police Legal Advisor, the Guyana Bar Association, the Berbice Bar Association, and the Law Reform Commission.

The Bill will be soon taken to Cabinet and thence to be laid in the National Assembly.

See below the Draft Explanatory Memorandum:




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