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Opening Statement The issues of plea-bargaining have been criticized by those who believe in fairness and justice in our court system Plea-bargaining over the years has stressed many important questions none more important than Do plea bargains prove to be an injustice to all From the innocent defendant who may be victimized because of scare tactics or to the guilty defendant who does not benefit from a just and rehabilitative sentence To the victim who sees himself or herself treated as a party that is secondary and not central to the legal debate And to society at large which is exposed to the frequent recidivism of defendants who sense that justice may be short-circuited Law Reform Commission of Canada Plea-bargaining I believe denies justice altogether In some cases convicted criminals allege that they were coerced or misled into admitting guilt for their offences without being given an opportunity to defend themselves Victims of crime complain that they are not given an opportunity to recount in court the details surrounding attacks by criminals that offenders are not punished on the basis of each crime perpetrated and that the victim has little or no opportunity to participate in the selection of the punishment that is imposed against an offender One can assume that the police have lost respect for the courts as well through the common occurrence of an offender receiving a slap on the wrist for multiple offences and then being set free again right away Plea-bargaining has brought injustice into the courts 1 the injustice done to the innocent 2 the injustice done to the victims 3 the injustice done to the public community and 4 the disregard for th e principles of justice and the principles of sentencing With all due respect to my worthy opponent it is our stand that plea bargains should not be heavily stressed in the court and sentencing systems to ensure the preservation of justice
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