The news that Melissa Reid is to accept a plea-bargaining deal in the Peru drug-smuggling case (your report, 16 September) is understandable but must surely be objected to on grounds of moral propriety.
In the UK, similar deals are made, particularly in prison after a long sentence, where parole is promised if guilt is “admitted”, and where prisoners found eventually to be innocent have been given no early release because they have refused to perjure themselves by retracting their plea of innocence.
The deal goes like this: (1) actually guilty and admitting guilt: shorter sentence; (2) actually innocent but accepting “guilt” (a form of lie): shorter sentence; (3) actually innocent and maintaining innocence: longest sentence.
It seems wrong that the state should risk encouraging an innocent defendant or prisoner to compromise his honesty and integrity by such practices.
Sentence and parole should be determined by other factor, or at the very least the highest levels of compensation should be given on acquittal. Justice and integrity deserve no less.