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What is plea Bargaining?

Plea bargaining is a negotiation in a criminal case whereby the accused agrees to plead guilty to a lesser offence, or in the case of multiple offenses, to one or more of the offences charged, in exchange for a concession from the prosecutor to reduce the charge or drop some charges.

Who can apply fro plea bargaining in Tanzania?

PERSONS WHO MAY INITIATE PLEA BARGAINING Are:

🔴A plea bargaining may be initiated by:

i. The public prosecutor, the accused person, his representative, as the case may be; or

ii. Where the case involves a child in conflict  with the law, his parent, guardian or social welfare officer.

🔴Where the accused or his advocate has notified the court his intention to negotiate a plea agreement he shall, by a letter, inform the DPP or Authorised Officer his intention to negotiate a plea agreement.

🔴In cases where the accused persons are jointly charged:

i. Each accused or his representative may write a letter to the DPP or Authorised Officer separately or jointly;

ii. Where the accused persons write a joint letter, the same shall be signed by each accused or their representatives; or

iii. Where the accused person is under custody,the letter shall be sent via and endorsed by the Prison Officer In-Charge.

FACTORS TO CONSIDER BEFORE ACCEPTING AN OFFER FOR PLEA BARGAINING.

🔵The public prosecutor before accepting an offer for  plea bargaining, shall, where plea bargaining involves negotiation of counts in a charge, accept the

count that will result to adequate compensation to the victim or mitigate the consequences caused by the criminal conduct to the society;

🔵Where plea bargaining involves negotiation of a sentence, the public prosecutor shall take into account the following consideration:

i. The gravity ofthe offence;

ii. Recidivism (offender who repeats offences);

iii. Nature and extent of harm, injury or damage caused to the victim or society;

iv. Aggravating factors such as high level of planning, organisation, sophistication of the offence, high level of financial profit from the offence, abuse of position of trust and or power;

v. Mitigating factors such as previous good character, cooperation with investigative agency after arrest, the minor role played by the offender in the commission of the offence, health condition of the accused, young or old age, compensation or restitution contributed by the accused;

🔵Where plea bargaining involves negotiation of compensation, the public prosecutor shall take into account the following;

i. The proposal of compensation made by the victim, where there is an identifiable victim;

ii. The amount involved in a charge, provided that where the accused offers to pay a less amount than which is stated in a charge, a lesser amount shall not be accepted unless there are reasonable basis, which must be reflected in the minutes of

negotiation proceedings, to justify that position;

iii. Financial circumstances ofthe accused; and

iv.The interest of justice, due regard being paid to the fact that compensation should not defeat

the ends of justice.

TERMINATION OF PLEA NEGOTIATION

Plea negotiation may be terminated by either party by  stating the reasons thereof in writing. The reasons for terminating the plea negotiation may be one of the

following:

🎯 Death ofthe accused person;

🎯Lapse of the time required to complete negotiation.

🎯Withdrawal by:

i. The accused person upon changing his intention to negotiate.

ii. The Public Prosecutor, when it comes to his knowledge that some material facts have been concealed or misrepresented by the accused person with the intention of misleading the Plea bargaining.

Notwithstanding the provision above, either party may re-initiate the Pleabargaining process provided that there are good reasons to do so.

NECESSARY DOCUMENTS FOR REGISTRATION OF PLEA AGREEMENT IN COURT

The Public Prosecutor shall prepare and submit in court at the time of registration of Plea Agreement the following documents:

🔴 Consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions or Authorized Officer under section 194C (3) ofthe Criminal Procedure Act; Cap 20 R.E2022;

🔴Consent and Certificate Conferring Jurisdiction of the Director of Public Prosecutions or Authorised Officer, where applicable;

🔴Written Plea Agreement duly proposed by both parties;

🔴The facts of the case constituting the offence the accused has agreed to plea guilty and the factual basis of the agreement; and

🔴Amended charge, if any

Disclaimer

This publication has been prepared for general guidance on matters of interest only, and does not constitute professional advice. You should not act upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining specific professional advice.

This publication is from

PLEA BARGAINING GUIDELINES, 2022 from National prosecution Service.