Four years back I was charged with an unbailable economic offence. Prosecution could not complete the investigation for 3 years. Every time I was taken to Court, the prosecutor was telling the Court that investigation was still underway and also telling the Court that if I was ready for plea agreement the case could be concluded. Not having a choice, I entered into a plea agreement with the prosecution to regain my liberty. I pleaded guilty to the offences charged and was ordered to pay a fine and compensation to the Government. How can I vacate the agreement and be able to recover the fine and compensation I paid on the plea agreement?
Section 194G(2) of the Criminal Procedure Act [Cap.20 R.E 2019] gives the accused who was a party to the plea agreement the right to lodge an application to the same Court that convicted him to set aside the conviction, sentence and any order founded on the plea agreement entered into by that accused. According to rule 23 of the Criminal Procedure (Plea Bargaining Agreement) Rules, 2021 an application to set aside conviction, sentence and any order founded on the plea agreement should be made by chamber summons supported with an affidavit. In such application, the accused seeking to set aside the conviction has to convince the Court by proving through an affidavit that the plea agreement was procured involuntarily or that the accused misapprehended the plea agreement.
However the law does not prescribe the time limit within which the application to set aside the conviction founded on the plea agreement should be made. However, the Court may not condone inordinate delay to move it to set aside the conviction, sentence and orders it previously made. The Court cannot leave its door open endlessly for a party to move it any time she/he wishes.