THE effective use of plea agreements to ensure justice is administered through a fair, transparent and efficient process, while balancing victims’ rights and the public's interest, was the focus of a week-long training session for prosecutors.
The session began on October 18 and was facilitated by the US embassy in Port of Spain in collaboration with the the Attorney General and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). The session was held at the Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain.
A release from the embassy on Friday said that the session was funded by the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Caribbean Anti-Crime Program and implemented by the National Center for State Courts (NCSC).
The training was aimed at increasing the usage of plea agreements to resolve cases, which will reduce backlogs, promote timely disposition of cases, and improve the overall administration of justice. Prosecutors from New York and Illinois led the training with support from other experts, including Paula Llewellyn, Jamaica’s DPP.
US embassy Chargé d’Affaires Shante Moore said, “Through expanded use of plea-bargaining provisions, Trinidad and Tobago can make positive strides towards reducing its remand population, decreasing the backlog of pending criminal cases, and improving the administration of justice.
“The United States is proud to partner with the Office of the Attorney General and the NCSC to provide this training and many other crucial capacity building and technical assistance programs to support criminal justice reform and justice sector strengthening efforts in Trinidad and Tobago.
"The United States continues to demonstrate that we are Trinidad and Tobago’s most responsive and reliable foreign partner, and our bilateral relationship bears dividends for Trinbagonian citizens.”
This training is the second part of a program launched in January with the Government. In April, NCSC trained members of the public defenders’ department.