DPP’s Office comes up with plea bargaining guidelines

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions has come up with plea bargaining guidelines. This has been necessitated by the need to expedite trials and reduce the huge backlog of cases.

The move comes as a huge relief for accused persons helping them avoid stricter punishments and significantly reduces the current case backlog.

Noordin Haji, the Director of Public Prosecutions said the plea-bargaining guidelines will save time, allow prosecutors to focus on high level cases and save on expenses that are incurred when a case goes to full trial. The move marks a significant turn in the ongoing reforms of the criminal justice system sector.

A plea bargain agreement is a negotiated agreement between an accused person and a prosecutor, where one agrees to voluntarily plead guilty for a concession from a prosecutor. Plea-bargaining is open in all cases except for genocide and terrorism charges

At present, the government spends Ksh270 to feed one prisoner per day, coming to about Ksh5.5 billion per annum in food for the 55,000 inmates in the country. In addition, the Witness Protection Agency spends Ksh2.5 million to protect a single witness yearly.