Plea In Criminal Trials

When a suspect is arrested by the police and charged, he may or may not give a statement to the police. That is an inalienable right provided for by the Constitution, 1992, that every citizen can exercise.

After the police are done with their work, (investigation), they are expected by law to arraign the suspect before a court of competent jurisdiction.

When the case is eventually called, the accused is called by his/her name and particulars of offence and the charges are read to him/her. Then the accused is asked, “are you guilty or not guilty “?

The accused is expected to say, “yes I am guilty” (guilty) or “no I am not guilty”(not guilty). You also hear people say,  ” Guilty with explanation.”

After this section, the facts are read usually by the police prosecutor.

If your plea is guilty simpliciter, you are convicted and sentenced on your own plea by the judge.

If you pleaded guilty with explanation, the trial judge would usually listen to your explanation. In most cases, the court might end up entering not guilty for the accused person based on the explanation. The explanation may also only show that the person is actually guilty.

If you are represented by a lawyer, the lawyer then steps in to do his work after your plea. If your plea is guilty, then as your lawyer, I have to do my advocacy to ensure that your sentence is the bearest minimum.

If you pleaded not guilty, your lawyer would still have to advocate and convince the court to grant you bail.

Before your plea however, you might have had proper conference with your lawyer to afford him the opportunity to advice you on how to plead.

If you have not committed the exact offence that you have been charged with, simply  say you are not guilty.

By : Lawyer Yaw Mensah










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