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AN APPRAISAL OF THE APPLICATION OF PLEA BARGAINING PROCEDURE IN NIGERIAN CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

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 Format: MS WORD ::   Chapters: 1-5 ::   Pages: 56 ::   Attributes: Reviews ::   185 people found this useful

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CHAPTER TWO

CONCEPTUAL CLARIFICATION AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF PLEA

BARGAINING IN THE NIGERIAN CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

There is no concept in law that does not have its origin, strength, system of operations and rancour. Plea bargain as a nascent concept in the in the Nigeria Criminal Justice System has its traces, its operational mode.

Loosely defined in it is viewed as a deal between the prosecutor and the accused wherein the defendant pleads guilty to a charge less than the original or receives sentencing and consideration for pleading guilty to the criminal charge[1]

The practice of plea bargaining is very new in Nigeria. It was never part of the Nigerian Criminal Justice System until 2004 when the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission was established. It is the EFCC Act9 that is the first Federal enactment that is seen introducing the concept into the Nigeria Criminal Justice

System.

This chapter will unfold the development of plea bargain in Nigeria.

 

 

2.2     MEANING OF PLEA BARGAINING  

It is pertinent to note here that the definition of plea bargain have not been commonly agreed upon. It is so because practitioners and legal scholars have had different definitions to the concept of plea bargaining. There is gainsaying that these variations owe their causes too the different jurisdictions and on the context of its use[2].

Notwithstanding the fact that there is no standard definition of plea bargaining, it is necessary that, one settles on some working definitions that encompasses the broad range of practices that can come within the legal regime.

It has been defined as a negotiated agreement between the prosecutor and in criminal defendant where by the defendant pleads guilty to a lesser offence or to one of multiple charges in exchange for concession by the prosecutor, usually a more lenient sentence or a dismissal of the other charges[3].

There are other definitions given by several authors. One of such definitions is the one by Langbein, J.H12 who calls plea bargaining “condemnation without adjudication”.

Plea bargaining has also been seen as the process of negotiation between the parties in a criminal case involving that defendants agreement to plead guilty in return for the prosecutors concession reducing either the sentence or the seriousness of the charge[4].

Another author[5] defines plea bargaining as a non trial mode of courtroom transaction that consists of an exchange between prosecution and defence in criminal cases. 

Nigerian authors are not left out in the quest to get definition for plea bargaining. Notable among them is the definition that plea bargain is an informal arrangement whereby the accused person agrees to plead guilty to one or some charges in return for the prosecution agreeing to drop other charges or a summary trial[6]. This definition by Nchi, S.I, has been given a not by several scholars for it is apt even though it is also observed that the definition should have also added that

“…..prosecution agreeing to drop other charges or for a lenient sentence”[7].    

2.2.1 TYPES OF PLEA BARGAINING 

There are basically two types of plea bargain. The can emanate from the likely concessions that may accrue to an accused person in exchange for his guilty plea. The concessions can either be in the form of reduction in the charge against the accused or reduction in the form of sentence on the accused.

In other words there are charge bargain and sentence bargain.

2.2.2 CHARGE BARGAIN  

A charge bargain occurs in a situation where an accused person is allowed to plead guilty to a lesser charge or to only some of the charges that have been filed against him. In other words, charge bargain involves offering a reduction of the charges, the dismissal of one or more of the charges in exchange for the guilty plea. It may be agreed that the accused pleads guilty to two in exchange for withdrawal of the remaining three in a five-court charge.

 

 

2.2.3 SENTENCE BARGAIN 

A sentence bargain occurs where when an accused is told in advance hat his sentence will be if he pleads guilty.

This can help a prosecutor obtain a conviction if for example an accused is facing serious charges and the accused is afraid of being hit with the maximum sentence. Ideally sentence bargains can only be granted if they are approval by the trial judge. Sentence bargain sometimes occur profile cases, where the prosecutor does not want to reduce the charges against the accused person usually for fear of how the media and public will react. The concept may allow the prosecutor to obtain a conviction for the most serous charge while assuring the accused person of lesser sentence[8]

 


[1] Mohr. A. “The Necessity of Plea Bargaining” 9 Actno.1, 2014

[2] Miler, H.S, et al, “plea bargaining in the United States” pages 1-15 

[3] Garner  B. Black Law Dictionary, 7th ed (St. Paul Mints, West Publishing Company Ltd, 1999, Page 1173 12  Langbein, J.H; “Law without Plea Bargaining: How the Germans do it” 78 Michigan Law Review 204 (197)

Page 204 

[4] http://www.answerS.com/topic/pleabargain

[5] Alschuler, A. The Trial Judges Role in Plea Bargain, Columbia Law Review, 1976, At Page 

[6] Nchi, S.I, The Nigerian Law Dictionary 2nd ed, Green World Publishing Company Ltd, 2000 Page 403

[7] Oguche, S. Development of Plea Bargaining in the Administration of Criminal in Nigeria: A Evolution, Vaccination again Punishment  or Mere Expediency In: Azinge, E and Ani, L (Eds) Plea Bargain in Nigeria: Law and Practice, NIALS, Abuja (2012) page 90

 


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Format:ms word
Chapter:1-5
Pages:56
Attribute:Reviews
Price:₦3,000
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