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Crowds Throng Hoima CM Court for Plea Bargaining Launch

HOIMA: Hundreds of people turned up at Hoima Chief Magistrates Court for the formal launch of Plea Bargaining at the Court. 

The Principal Judge, Hon. Justice Dr Yorokamu Bamwine, officiated at the exercise that doubled as the opening of the hands on training on Plea Bargaining.

The Principal Judge said the purpose of the launch and training was to sensitize inmates and the people of Hoima on all matters plea bargaining.

He emphasized to the inmates that the training is not meant to persuade them to reach bargains. "We are here to inform you so that you can make informed decisions."

To mark the launch of Plea Bargaining at Hoima CM Court, the Principal Judge handed over a copy of the Plea Bargain rules to the Chief Magistrate, HW Moses Kagoda.

The representative of the Commissioner General of Prisons and Officer in Charge of Masindi Prisons, Mr Henry Natwaluma, said at least 40 inmates had expressed willingness to plea bargain. The 40 comprise both capital and petty offenders.

The Principal Judge urged the accused persons to ensure that during negotiations,the judicial officers are consulted so that agreements are not rejected. 

Mr. Natwaluma further commended Plea Bargaining for the tremendous strides it has taken to help decongest prisons.

He also encouraged the inmates to enroll on the programme only if they are certain they committed the offences.

Speaking at the same function, the Masindi Resident Judge, who also oversees Hoima, Hon.Justice Rugadya Atwooki described Plea Bargaining as "a win-win situation" for the offenders and the community as a whole.

He called upon private lawyers to give their clients appropriate advice."Many [lawyers] advise their clients not commensurate with the crimes committed," he said.

The same call was echoed by the Chairperson of the Judicial Training Institute, Hon.Lady Justice Stella Arach Amoko, who urged lawyers to be professional and take the training seriously.

The Principal Judge reassured the inmates that there is hope especially with a planned High Court session next month. He added that all negotiated sentences will reflect the crimes committed. 

The Hoima Mayor, Mr Grace Mary Mugasa, thanked the courts and Pepperdine University for spearheading efforts to decongest prisons and ensuring access to justice.

The hands on trainings in Gulu, Masindi and Hoima have been some of the activities done ahead of the fourth Plea Bargaining Conference on June 21, 2018.

Posted 20th, June 2018
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