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Jan 16, 2024

Critical Criminal Justice Legislations to Be Enacted in 2024

Anthony Sylvestre

In this legal year, under legal reform, a number of criminal justice legislations will be enacted. One of these is a Criminal Procedure Plea Discussion and Plea Agreement Act and a new alternative Sentencing Act. Draft Bills were circulated to stakeholders back in October, 2023 and a final set of comments last week to strengthen the measures. Attorney-General Anthony Sylvestre explained.


Anthony Sylvestre, Attorney General

“These measures all are geared to address the problems of backlog in our criminal justice system. Under the proposed Criminal Procedure Plea Discussions and Plea Agreement Act, a new regime will be created under which an accused person or suspect may engage in plea discussions or conclude a plea agreement with a prosecutor at any time before conviction, including even before charges are laid, if the accused person or suspect is represented by an attorney at law. Of course the pleas must be freely given and so a safeguard is inbuilt in the proposed Act, making it a criminal offense for anyone to use improper inducement for the accused or suspected person to enter a plea. To ensure that an accused or suspect is not pressured into entering into plea agreements, prosecutors will be prohibited from engaging in any plea discussion or agreement with an unrepresented accused person or suspect unless the prosecutor informs that unrepresented accused person or suspect of specific rights, interalia, the right to be represented by an attorney at law.”


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