Plea bargaining in criminal cases is lawful – Former Chief Justice

Former Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo, has stated that plea bargaining in criminal cases is lawful and permissible within the scope of the law.

In an interview with Kasapa News, Justice Akuffo explained that plea bargaining, also known as law negotiations, is not wrong in the prosecution of criminal cases. She noted that the prosecution can seek to plea bargain in every criminal case unless there is a law setting boundaries as to what cannot be plea bargained.

According to her, even in murder cases, plea bargaining can be applied in some jurisdictions.

“Sometimes in countries where they have been practicing plea bargain for a very long time, even in murder cases, they can plea bargain it downwards to something else,” she said.

Her comments come on the back of allegations by businessman Richard Jakpa, that the Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, has been engaging him at odd hours to implicate Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson in the ongoing trial involving the purchase of ambulances said to be defective.

She emphasized that it is not novel for a co-defendant to be plea-bargained and used as a prosecution witness.

“I don’t know the scope and content of whatever discussions have been going on. But sometimes there is, you plea bargain a co-defendant and make that co-defendant your prosecution witness in exchange for which you then plead guilty to a lesser charge,” she explained.

Justice Akuffo urged caution and circumspection in the ongoing discussions, stating that the judicial process is not a political one.

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