Plea Bargain, Is It Barstardising The Legal Profession ?

February 28, 2021 | Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie |

Plea Bargain is a well used way of getting convictions in the courts and has been very successful in the USA.  We are not sure where it was started,  but we all know where it has developed to be highly used as an effective tool in fighting crime and related ills in respective  societies. There has been mixed views as it relates to the use of this legal tool.


In the United States Of America (USA) there is a routine use of plea to settle especially thorny legal issues.  Plea Bargain is a very successful tool when investigations are well done and are effectively probed. With a iron clad case it is very difficult for a defence team to poke holes in a prosecution’s case.

Accused persons feel pressured to resort to Plea Bargain as a means of getting a lesser sentence and possibly lower prison term.

Miss Kitty, a newly qualified lawyer was asked to give her views and if she plans to apply Plea Bargain in her legal practice. She said inter alia:

Plea Bargain has its place and should be applied on a case by case basis.  For example there may be five charges on the sheet. You can plead on say 3 and fight the rest.  If you do not adhere to the terms of the plea you could be forced to take up your sentence.”

Assumption Of Innocence

My concern is that under our system of Justice an accused is presumed innocent until found guilty. When you opt for a plea you may save the system a costly trial and save time for all concerned, but in the end you get a conviction without a fight.  It is quite a risk and a gamble you may say.  A trial may end up in your favour.

Positive Benefits

The prosecution may have a weak case. For example under skillful cross-examination a lawyer my bore holes in claims made by say an alleged complainant.  If doubt is successfully established then you could secure an acquittal.

Negative factors To Plea Bargain

The court could punish an accused for wasting time when a plea of guilty from day one could mean a lighter sentence or even a suspended sentence.

Let us get your feed back please.

If you fail to honour the terms of the agreement for the bargain you may be asked to serve the full sentence.

Be warned!

Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie is a veteran journalist with a keen interest in legal matters. He has international exposure.

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