Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Questions (224)

Michael Creed


224. Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will consider introducing reforms to the area of public prosecutions to facilitate plea bargaining by those considered to have committed a crime; the legal obstacles presently to this approach; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10465/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

Plea bargaining and the factors that might be relevant to its operation in this jurisdiction were reviewed by the Law Reform Commission in its 1996 Report on Sentencing. The Commission decided against making any recommendations on legislation in the area of plea negotiations.

The current practice is set out in the Director of Public Prosecutions' Guidelines for Prosecutors. I refer the Deputy to chapter 10 of those Guidelines. These Guidelines are available on the Director of Public Prosecution's website.

The criminal law already makes a limited allowance where the defendant enters a guilty plea. Section 29 of the Criminal Justice Act 1999, together with some more specific provisions such as section 27(3D)(b) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977, provide that an early plea of guilty should, as a general rule, be taken into consideration by the court when determining the appropriate sentence (in cases other than where the sentence is fixed by law). I have no plans for legislation to alter the current arrangements.