Plea-bargain – Quotes from UK political figures & USA context


Here are several quotes from all parties public figures

At HOUSE OF LORDS SELECT COMMITTEE on Extradition : pressure to plea-bargain was the central issues

There should be transcript / video available soon -


“We make no secret of the fact that we view with a degree of distaste the way in which the American authorities are alleged to have approached the plea bargain negotiations. Viewed from the perspective of an English court the notion that a prosecutor may seek to induce a plea of guilty on the basis that substantial benefits will be withdrawn if one is not forthcoming is anathema. We refer in particular to the providing and withdrawal of support towards repatriation.”

- Lord Justice Maurice Kay

LABOUR (Talha’s Tooting MP): Shadow Justice Secretary, Sadiq Khan, is the MP for Tooting, where two of the men facing extradition – Babar Ahmad and Syed Ahsan – both live. He said on the plea-bargaining system:

“The way criminal cases work in America means that defendants facing a trial are advised to plea-bargain. I predict that both my constituents will do the same as all the other British men extradited to the USA have done and plead guilty. It is a big risk pleading not guilty.

My understanding is that the consequences of this include the threat of life in solitary confinement without parole, should they lose a trial.

If those are the stakes which pleading not guilty involve, then it is no wonder that over 97% of defendants accept a plea bargain.”

CONSERVATIVE: Former Shadow Home Secretary David Davies MP expressed concern, in a recent parliamentary debate following the halt of Gary Mckinnon’s extradition:

“There are a number of cases where there are concerns over justice being done, with respect to both Europe and the USA—in particular, in respect of the USA, there are fears that the intimidatory use of the plea bargaining arrangements force possibly innocent people to make guilty pleas…”


Lord Carlile described how he was “absolutely appalled” by the US plea bargaining system which was “something we would not tolerate in this country” because “it creates a very unlevel playing field.” He expressed his wish for a parliamentary inquiry to be carried out to examine “whether it is acceptable for people to be sent back to the US to face their intimidating plea bargaining system which effectively forces people to choose between, say, 35 years imprisonment and a short sentence which is not a fair choice.” He also referred to one case where a defendant was “offered a choice between a “ludicrous” 720 years in prison, if convicted, or of travelling to the UK to give evidence against his brother and serving three to four years.”

“Who can resist that sort of pressure? It is irrelevant whether the evidence he gives here is true or false, whether the plea he gives is true or false. It is the process. If you examine English law, particularly the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, then most American plea bargains would not be admitted as part of the English evidential system.”

(ALTHOUGH he has double-standards for Gary Mckinnon)

USA Context:

The Nation:

Studies show that people who are imprisoned before trial “are far more often convicted, far more often given a prison term, and far more often given a long prison term than those people who obtain their release.” By suffering punishment before trial, these defendants develop a fatalistic attitude toward their situation. Because they are also involuntarily accruing “time served,” a plea bargain offer becomes attractive, regardless of their innocence.

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