The Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Rivers State, Prof. Zacchaeus Adangor, has explained why the Ministry of Justice has inaugurated a Plea Bargain Committee.
Prof. Adangor had said that the committee was inaugurated to enlighten the members of the Bar and general public on procedure for plea bargain saying it could be also used in criminal proceedings to ensure speedy and cost-effective administration of justice.
He was speaking at the recent opening of the new legal year - 2020 -2021- in the state, and said the plea bargain committee was set up in line with Section 277 of the Rivers State Administration of Criminal Justice Law 2015.
He said that the ministry of justice was determined to use the plea bargain to ensure that those standing for trial would be made to account for their conduct even where a charge has been dropped by the complainant.
The Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice said:”Rivers State Ministry of Justice is an institutional stakeholder in the justice sector and will continue to cooperate and collaborate with the Rivers State judiciary and other critical stakeholders in the justice sector in driving necessary reform and improving the administration of justice in the state. We inaugurated the plea bargain committee in accordance with Section 277 of the Rivers State Administration of Criminal Justice Law 2015, which is charged with the responsibility of enlightening members of the Bar and the general public on the plea bargain procedure”.
He also said that the ministry has inaugurated the state task force on Human Trafficking in collaboration with the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) to tackle the menace of human trafficking in the state.
A plea bargain is an agreement between defendant and prosecutor in which the defendant agrees to plead guilty in exchange for agreement by the prosecutor to drop one or more charges, reduce a charge or recommend a specific sentence acceptable to defence.
Also speaking at the occasion, the governor of the state, Chief Nyesom Wike, had praised the state chief judge for not allowing herself to get influenced by those he called political detractors.
Also at the event, goodwill messages were presented by representatives on behalf of Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria as well as by Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association in Port-Harcourt, Prince Onyekwere, Esq, who had said that the governor was proactive and resilient in fighting coronavirus pandemic in the state.