Plea Bargaining Essay

In: Social Issues

Submitted By brittanyjaz
Words 1177
Pages 5
Evaluate the effectiveness of plea bargaining. (15 marks)

Plea bargaining is a controversial aspect in the criminal justice system. It can be both beneficial, and detrimental to any court case. A plea bargain is the flexible form of justice that refers to the negotiation of charges between the defence and the prosecution. A plea bargain serves the main purpose of getting the accused to plead guilty to an offence and eliminates the need for a costly criminal trial.

At the heart of a plea bargain is a ‘deal’- a deal where the prosecutor agrees to drop a charge if the accused pleads guilty to something else. The objective is to secure a guilty plea and a quick resolution to avoid a lengthy, costly trial in cases where the facts are not disputed- or when one side (defence or prosecution) might have a weaker case and are worried about the outcome.

An accused must enter a plea of either guilty or not guilty in relation to the charges they are facing. An early guilty plea usually eliminates the need for a trial and in a lot of cases come about after a plea bargain between the defence and prosecution. When the offender pleads guilty they receive a sentencing discount, which, except in cases that demand a life sentence, results in a sentence discount of between 10% and 25%. These discounts introduced in 2005 go a long way to cutting the cost of criminal trials.

When an offender who was originally charged with murder is allowed to plead guilty to manslaughter, securing a lesser sentence, the community can react angrily. They may believe that the offender is getting a minimal sentence that is not worthy of the crime that was committed. This is especially evident in the case DPP v. Loveridge (2013). In June 2013, the NSW DPP dropped a murder charge against 19-year-old Kieran Loveridge after he agreed to plead guilty to the lesser crime of manslaughter.…...

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