President Akufo-Addo has assented to the Criminal and other Offences (Procedure) (Amendment) Act, 2022 (Act 1079) to provide for plea bargaining in the administration of criminal justice.
This took place on Friday, July 22, 2022.
The law will, among other things, ensure the speedy trial of cases and help decongest prisons.
Under this new law, the state will be able to save resources by reducing protracted trials. Accused persons can enjoy benefits such as a reduction of the offence charged to a lesser one or the withdrawal of some of the charges against them.
A statement issued by the Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, on July 26, 2022 said Act 1079 creates exemptions to plea negotiations for offences in the nature of high treason, high crime, rape, defilement, genocide, robbery, kidnapping, murder, attempted murder, abduction, piracy, abduction, hijacking and election-related offences.
“I respectfully inform the general public that in order to ensure a sound and efficient application of the law, a series of training programmes will be organised for judges, prosecutors in the Office of Attorney General, the Ghana Police Service, the Ghana Prisons Service and other stakeholders in the legal profession before the law is fully implemented,” the AG said.
He added that the enactment of the plea bargaining law is part of the innovations by the AG’s office to reform delivery of criminal justice system in the country.
“The decision to exclude the application of plea bargaining in respect of certain cases of offences was backed by strong public policy considerations. The interest of the state and the need to protect the vulnerable in society were paramount.”
This new Act amends Criminal and other Offences (Procedure) Act, 1960 (Act 30), which came into force on January 12, 1961.
Mr Godfred Dame stated that he remains committed to ensuring the passage of the Community Sentencing Bill and the general overhaul of the Criminal (Procedure) Act, 1960 (Act 30) by Parliament.
This is aimed at helping eliminate undue delays in the prosecution of cases.