At least 100 capital offenders at Muyinaina Prison in Mubende district are expected to settle their cases through the Plea Bargain program this month.
The inmates registered to enroll on the program on Friday during a sensitization visit to the prison by the Mubende Resident Judge Elizabeth Nahamya and the National Coordinator for Plea Bargain Andrew Khaukha.
This will bring to 200 the number of plea bargains from Mubende since January 2016. Some 100 similar cases were settled under this program earlier in the year.
Plea Bargaining is the process where an accused person agrees with a prosecutor to plead guilty to an offense in exchange for a lesser sentence.
The procedure also enables an accused person to negotiate for a lesser offense or to be turned into a prosecution witness against other accused persons.
The procedure can be initiated orally or in writing by the accused person or the prosecution at any stage of a case before the sentence is passed, and plea bargain agreements are reviewed and approved by a judge or magistrate.
Since it’s pilot in the High Court in Kampala, mid-2014, over 3,000 capital offenses have been completed through Plea Bargain. Another 3,000 cases are targeted by the courts in the 2016/17 Financial Year from various Prisons across the country, according to Judiciary’s Chief Communication Officer Solomon Muyita.
The procedure is quick, cheap to run by the courts, helps to decongest prisons, reduction of case backlog, and promotes reconciliation between accused persons and the victims.
According to a statement from Muyita, the courts save up to 70 percent of the costs spent on cases in the adversarial trial system.