By Okoodi Deo
Principal Judge Dr Yorokamu Bamwine has cautioned Judges of high court against giving suspects sentences they have not negotiated during the plea bargain process.
The Principal Judge says such practice will discourage suspects from taking advantage of the plea bargain process aimed at decongesting prisons, repentance and reconciliation as well.
Justice said this after the inmates at Kakyika and Mbarara central prisons raised it in their memorandum as one of challenges that are scaring them away from pleading guilty as they enter into agreement with the offended parties.
James Osbert in a memorandum said that inmate Kalisa Edson was sentenced to serve two capita offences consecutively yet his interest was to have them served concurrently and decision has great tortured him psychologically and is regretting as to why he accepted to enter into plea bargaining.
He further said that a big number of prisoners at Kakika Government prison in Mbarara Municipality signed plea bargaining and have not been called in court to be convicted something that has derailed their hope and destabilized their peace of mind and requested the principal Judge to intervene and help them get justice so that they dont be disadvantaged in the whole arrangement.
In response, Bamwine said that it is not proper to sentence a suspect like that after entering the plea bargain process and that the punishment has been agreed upon by all the parties.
He said such decisions can potentially affect negotiation process and urged Judges to be certain and flexible when it comes to accepting or denying punishments agreed upon.
The inmates also complained of the long time they spend on remand before they are committed to court to which the principal Judge said is wrong and revealed that he has instructed resident Judges and all magistrates to start visiting prisons regularly and ensure that nobody accused of capita offense is remanded beyond six months.
Source: www.mknewslink.com a greater western Uganda news website