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Reps endorse plea bargain in criminal code

By The Citizen

The House of Representatives yesterday approved the inclusion of plea bargain in the country's criminal code.

The legislators passed the vote while considering a report of a 'Bill for An Act to repeal the criminal procedure, 2004,' sponsored by Hon. Ali Ahmad (PDP-Kwara).

The plea bargain clause in Section 270 (c) of the Act as approved by the House, presided over by Deputy Speaker, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, proposes 'procedures and circumstances in which a plea bargain can be determined as to whether it is in the public interest to enter into such agreement where the prosecution shall weigh all relevant factors'.

Other conditions outlined in the bill to enter a plea bargain are: 'The defendant's willingness to cooperate in the investigation or prosecution of others, the defendant's history with respect to criminal activity, the defendant's remorse or contrition and his willingness to assume responsibility for his conduct, the desirability of prompt and certain disposition of the case.

'The likelihood of obtaining a conviction at trial, the probable effect on the witnesses, the probable sentence or other consequences if the defendant is convicted, the need to avoid delay in the disposition of other pending cases and the expense of trial and appeal, the defendant's willingness to make restitution or pay compensation to the victim where appropriate.'