October 18, 2022
“Repugnant” guilty plea bonus scrapped
Justice Minister Kiritapu Allen has scrapped a new policy to pay duty lawyers a $120 bonus if they get their clients to plead guilty at their first court appearance.
Minister Allen says after calling in her officials for a ‘please explain’ briefing on Monday, she was informed today the bonus will cease immediately.
She says while the incentive was to reduce a backlog in cases, the scheme was repugnant.
The Ministry of Justice had earlier said there are no indications the policy was being abused, but lawyers were concerned it was profoundly unethical and had the potential to damage the trust defendants have in the advice duty lawyers give them.