Plea and Sentence Agreements, Process and Examples
- Featured article by LAWYERS-ONLINE.CO.ZA - April 2019
Under Section 105A of the Criminal Procedure Act, a prosecutor is afforded the opportunity to enter into a plea and sentence agreement with an accused person. This was originally added to the legal system to alleviate the burden placed on South African criminal courts, and it is still evolving as new cases and judgments narrow down the correct process and procedure for it.
A plea and sentence agreement essentially allows the accused to enter a plea in exchange for a lesser sentence, or in some cases no sentence depending on the agreement reached. However, the current legislation only allows for an accused person with representation to make use of section 105. Unrepresented accused persons can only enter a plea of guilty under section 112.
During the plea sentence agreement process the accused will make a representation to the prosecution and the state, who will, in turn, consider the circumstances of the crime, the accused and the best interest of justice. Should all parties come to an agreement; the accused may enter a plea and be sentenced without the need for a lengthy trial.
A very famous example of a plea and sentence agreement is the case of Coronet Equities, where three executives avoided a charge of almost 30 000 counts of theft and fraud resulting in 20 charges. In this famous case, the three defendants pled guilty and received a lesser sentence and legal experts estimate that the plea and sentence agreement saved three years of time in the court.
If you require more insight into the concept of plea and sentence agreement, why not allow us to refer you to a lawyer in our network who is able to provide more information.