24 May 2012

Rise in plea bargaining seen

11:34 am on 24 May 2012

A law specialist says more people may be avoiding serious charges, or pleading guilty to crimes they didn't commit, by using plea bargaining.

Canterbury University senior lecturer Chris Gallavin says bargains made directly between prosecutors and defendants can be beneficial because they free up court time.

But Dr Gallavin says the bargains can also convince defendants to plead guilty to crimes they didn't commit because they are scared to face trial on a more serious charge.

He says plea bargains can put judges in a difficult position because they have to rule on a case without knowing what negotiations have taken place outside court.