What is a mitigation plea

A mitigation plea is an oral or written statement containing information about your personal circumstances of the crime that may result in a lower sentence.

The purpose of your mitigation plea is for you to convey relevant mitigating factors so that the judge can arrive at a fair and just sentence. These are reasons or facts that seek to persuade the judge why your punishment should be lessened.

Whether you plead guilty or are found guilty after the trial, you have a right to make a plea in mitigation before sentence is passed.

Note

If you pleaded guilty, you should take special care against qualifying your plea of guilt. A plea of guilt is qualified when you raise facts in your mitigation plea which contradict those stated in the statement of facts (SOF). When this happens, the judge will reject your plea of guilt and you will have to proceed to trial.

How to prepare a mitigation plea

Your mitigation plea should include mitigating factors. You may refer to the following list for common examples of mitigating factors. This list is not exhaustive, and you should only consider factors which apply to your situation.

Tip

A lawyer would be in the best position to advise you on the mitigating factors that are relevant to your case.

You may also choose to use the Community Justice Centre's (CJC) Automated Court Documents Assembly (ACDA) system to draft your mitigation plea and have it reviewed by a lawyer at a fixed fee.

Generally, the court may take the offender's age into concern if they are below 21 years old. This is because they are still in their formative years and are capable of being rehabilitated.

The court may take into account whether your mental condition contributed to the commission of the offence.

If you are relying on this in your mitigation plea, you will need to submit medical documents to prove all of the following:

  • You are suffering from a mental condition.
  • Your mental condition contributed to you committing the crime.
The court may take into account your criminal history and previous convictions when deciding your sentence.
The court may take into account how cooperative you have been with the authorities and the degree of remorse you have shown. Some ways you can show this include:
  • Pleading guilty early because you are sorry for what you have done.
  • Helping the police in their investigations.
  • Surrendering yourself to the police voluntarily.
The court may take into account the degree to which you were involved in the crime committed. Aspects of your involvement that may be considered include:
  • How much you benefited from the crime.
  • What the extent of your role in the crime was.
  • If you were pressured into committing the crime.
  • What extraneous pressures made you commit the crime.
  • If you caused serious harm to others.
  • If you received instructions from someone else to commit the crime.
  • If you planned to commit the crime beforehand.
  • If you were provoked to commit the crime.
The courts may take into account efforts you have made to reduce, or make compensation for, the harm done to the victim.
Example
Compensating the victim for the medical fees they have to incur as a result of you injuring them is an example of restitution.
The courts may take into account efforts you intend to make, or have already made, to stay crime-free after you serve your sentence.

How to submit a mitigation plea

You should prepare and submit a written copy beforehand. This gives the judge time to consider what you are going to say, and can be a helpful reference for your oral submissions.

You can submit your written mitigation plea in the following ways. Refer below to understand the submission requirements for each of them.

If you are out on bail, you may submit the following documents via the Integrated Case Management System (ICMS) before your hearing date:
  • Your mitigation plea
  • A copy of your medical or psychiatric report (if applicable).
  • Other documents to support your mitigation plea.
If you are out on bail, you may file and submit the following documents at the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau before your hearing date:
  • Your mitigation plea
  • A copy of your medical or psychiatric report (if applicable).
  • Other documents to support your mitigation plea.
You can submit the following documents as a physical hardcopy to the judge at your sentencing:
  • Your mitigation plea.
  • A copy of your medical or psychiatric report (if applicable).
  • Other documents to support your mitigation plea.
Note

You should also make a copy of your documents for the prosecution. Both copies should be submitted at the same time.

2021/03/02

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