Thursday, 24 April 2014

Senate approves plea bargaining

27 April 2012

Prague, April 26 (CTK) - Czech state attorneys will be able to conclude an agreement on guilt and the penalty with the defendants if they confess to crimes under an amendment to the Criminal Code passed by the Senate Thursday.

The plea bargain will be impossible for very serious crimes punishable with more than ten years in prison.

The amendment that is yet to be signed by President Vaclav Klaus widens the use of the institute of the defendant's collaboration.

This is to help the police investigate organised crime and corruption in exchange for a lower or no sentence.

The introduction of plea bargaining is to speed up the criminal proceedings and prevent lengthy trials, Justice Minister Jiri Pospisil has told the Senate.

If a defendant confesses to a crime, the state attorney can propose the appropriate punishment as well as a protective measure and the extent and form of the compensation.

A court will then approve the agreement without the trial, but it may also reject it.

Persons who may contribute to the uncovering of any organised crime, not only the serious one are to become "collaborating defendants."

On the other hand, it is to be more strictly judged whether they really contributed to the uncovering of a gang.

The judges will have the duty to impose the punishment below the lower level or to drop it.

At present, the Criminal Code only makes this possible.

The legislation is likely to take effect in early August.

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