A lawyer at Adom Legal Consult, Daniel Korang, has warned the public against pleading guilty on the behest of police prosecutors when they get charged with a crime.
According to him, some police prosecutors misconduct themselves by inducing accused persons to plead guilty under the pretense that they would receive lighter sentences.
This, he says, infringes on the accused person’s right to conscientiously make a decision on whether or not to plead guilty to a crime.
Speaking on JoyNews’ The Law, Daniel Koarng said “When they’re preparing a person to court they’ll tell the person, ‘when we go and the judge asks you whether you’re guilty or not, say you’re guilty. If you say you’re guilty, all of us will help you. The judge will be lenient, he’ll have mercy on you’ and all that.
“I believe that whether a person should plead guilty or not guilty must be freely done. You know, the person must be left to think through the situation and see whether he’s guilty or not guilty.”
He advised that accused persons should seek the advice of lawyers before making a plea rather than caving in to police prosecutors’ demands.
He also advised accused persons to avoid making statements to the police without a lawyer as whatever they may say may be used against them in the court of law.
“And when you go to the courts and you get to know certain cases to which somebody has pleaded guilty and the person has been sentenced, you realize that it is just not proper. So a police officer should not tell an accused person to plead guilty.
“You allow the person to engage a lawyer, the lawyer will advise the person. If the lawyer thinks that this case is a helpless one and that you must plead guilty, I mean you can do that conscientiously. But if you are being induced, sometimes the prosecutors will give you a lot of promises, ‘when you plead guilty I will not talk, I’ll tell my Lord to release you.’
“Now let the public understand that a plea of guilty amounts to a confession or conviction. A plea of guilty when accepted by the court amounts to a conviction. You have convicted yourself. And so you’d have to do that advisedly. Don’t just listen to the prosecutor and plead guilty,” he said.