Plea Bargain, sentencing guidelines: EU-ROLAC, Adamawa judiciary, train all judges, 59 magistrates

EU-ROLAC in conjunction with Adamawa State judiciary have organized a three day workshop for judges on peer review learning and training for magistrates on plea bargain and sentencing guidelines.

The workshop aims to build the capacity of all Judges and Magistrates in Plea Bargain processes and Sentencing procedures with a view to effective take off on speedy dispensation of Criminal Justice.

The chief of Adamawa State, justice Nathan Musa while declaring the workshop open pledged to work in harmony with the executive and legislative arms of government to ensure the success of Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL) in Adamawa State.

Justice Musa who made the pledge while opening a two day workshop for the review exercise for magistrates of Adamawa State judiciary on application of sentencing guidelines, the role of courts in plea bargain and the overview of ACJL, 2019, said he will ensure the implementation of all recommendations reached during the exercise.

The EU in conjunction with British Council and RoLAC organized the training session for 50 magistrates in response to the appointment of 31 new magistrates in the state.

“I will spearhead the implementation of all the recommendations arrived at in this workshop,” he said.

While commending the organizers of the workshop, Justice Musa said the training will update the knowledge of the magistrates on how to implement ACJL more especially on plea bargain and non custodial sentencing.

The chief judge also said his recent state tour of detention facilities has availed him full knowledge of the challenges and abnormalities in the administration of justice procedures which called for training and retraining of judges in the state.

Another advantage of the training, according to Musa is that it will speed up judicial process and enhance administration of justice in the state.

He said as the chief judge of Adamawa State, “I will ensure that judges are up to date because the legal profession is dynamic.”

He said in order to achieve that noble goal he will organize zonal training for judges and judicial workers across the state to enhance productivity and delivery of justice.

In her remark, a consultant, Justice Raliat Adebiyi said the participants would be exposed to thorough procedures of applying plea bargain and non custodial sentencing with consideration of the defendant’s constitutional rights.

Adebiyi observed that the roles of court in the administration of plea bargain and non custodial sentencing are misinterpreted by judges and their clients which needs to be tackled head-long.

She however urged the participants to ensure that take aways from the workshop are implemented so that they can assist on the ongoing judicial reforms in Adamawa State.

Also speaking, the RoLAC coordinator in Adamawa State, Hapsat Abdullahi said the reason for the workshop is to strengthen the capacity of the newly appointed magistrates.

She noted that in view of the new innovations which the ACJL came with, a number of strategies have to be put in place to ensure its successful take off.

“Actually the law came with so many innovations. And when you have a new law with such innovations, for it to be effectively implemented you have to put a number of mechanisms in place,” she said.

She noted that for the non custodial sentencing to be put into practice, the correctional facilities have to make provision for supervisory officers that will monitor the implementation by people who were sentenced to community service.

“As of today coming under the umbrella of justice sector reform team, the various players have now understood the role they have to play and they have started making the moves and in some situations they have started putting up such mechanisms,” she said.

She expressed optimism that with the milestones so far achieved the implementation of the justice reforms will be hitch free in the state for most of the sectors.

“The CJ has issued a practice direction on non custodial and custodial measures and the attorney general has also issued a manual in plea bargain. So for the first time in Adamawa State, we are looking at practicing plea bargain and non custodial sentencing,” she said.

She added that the Programme has earlier supported the training of Lawyers and Staff of Correctional Service in plea bargain and Non custodial measures .
Correctional Service has begun preparing their staff.


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