Harare (New Ziana) – Plea bargaining is expected to be introduced in the country’s judicial system soon, a senior cabinet minister has said.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa said cabinet had approved the Principles of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence (Amendment) Bill, 2023 which contains provisions that introduce plea bargaining.
The proposed amendments introduce plea bargaining procedure into the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, as well as amend section 8(1) of the High Court Act [Chapter 7:06].
Plea bargaining is a long-established practice in common law justice systems across the world, which is used by the prosecution and the defence to strike pre-trial compromises to, among other things, speed up delivery of justice.
Section 8 of the High Court Act will be amended to ensure that a High Court Judge is not unnecessarily restricted in directing continuation of a criminal trial in cases where one of the assessors dies or becomes incapable to continue.
“The amendments to the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act and the High Court Act will go a long way in enhancing the country’s justice delivery system,” said Mutsvangwa.