JUDICIARY Latest Features

265 Enroll for Plea Bargaining at Mbarara Main Prison

MBARARA: At least 265 inmates enrolled for Plea Bargaining at Mbarara Main Prison.

This was revealed by the OC Mbarara Main Prison during a hands-on training for Plea Bargain at the facility presided over by the Principal Judge, Hon. Justice Dr Yorokamu Bamwine.

The OC said out of the 1,578 inmates at the facility, 928 are committals. Since the programme started in 2014, at least 720 inmates from the facility have benefited. The male inmates presented a 10-page memo highlighting their challenges.

They asked for more Plea Bargain sessions. "Out of the 265 inmates who enrolled for Plea Bargaining, only 50 cases have been cause-listed. This demoralizes those who have been left out."

The inmates expressed concern over some state briefs who ask for money from inmates. They also decried the inconsistency in sentences of same offences.

The other concerns included not considering the remand period when passing sentences.

The inmates equally asked for the creation and operationalization of new High Court circuits curved out of Mbarara to ease the workload of the Judicial Officers.

The Principal Judge said effective Plea Bargains start with sensitizing stakeholders.

He added, "Judiciary may be underfunded, it lacks Judges and the process appears to be slow. Even then we must continue to punish those who cannot live within the four corners of the law."

He also cautioned those maintaining their innocence, not to plea bargain merely because ordinary hearings have delayed.

Mbarara Resident Judge, Hon. Lady Justice Joyce Kavuma thanked the PJ for spearheading efforts to decongest prisons.

She said the Circuit needs 23 sessions to handle the committals at the facility.

Hon.Lady Justice Kavuma said the courts are looking at Plea Bargain as one of the ways to access justice.

During the plenary, inmates asked the Principal Judge a number of questions which he answered.

The training of inmates continues at Kakyika Prison and will be concluded tomorrow at Bushenyi Prison.

The Principal Judge was accompanied by a number of Justice, Law and Order Sector actors from the Office of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, Police,Prisons, Judicial Officers as well as lawyers in private practice.

Posted 19th, November 2018
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