Justice Minister, Delroy Chuck, is seeking to differentiate between the government’s proposed plea-bargaining law and the Chief Justice’s Sentence Reduction Day initiative.
This amid outrage over the 15-year sentence handed down to convicted murderer Phillip Brown under the Sentence Reduction Day programme.
Minister Chuck says unlike Sentence Reduction, plea bargaining allows for consultations with the prosecutor, the family of victims and investigators. He says plea bargaining is, therefore, a fairer approach at achieving justice, which is expected to outlive the Sentence Reduction Day initiative.
Many Jamaicans were outraged last week following the sentencing of construction worker Phillip Brown. He was convicted of murder but was handed a 15-year sentence.
Brown beat his common-law wife to death with a hammer last year. She was pregnant at the time. The victim’s sister is among those who scoffed at Brown’s 15-year sentence.
Minister Chuck says the lack of consultation with the family of victims is one of the weaknesses of the Sentence Reduction Day initiative.
He says only the attorney for the accused is consulted under the Sentence Reduction Day initiative.
Minister Chuck says while working on the Plea Bargaining bill, he had considered removing the sentence reduction provision of the Criminal Amendment Act of 2015. But he was advised against that course of action as the Sentence Reduction Day initiative was being contemplated.
The Justice Minister says it would better serve the interest of an accused to enter into a plea negotiation instead of seeking to benefit from the Sentence Reduction Day initiative.