Written 23rd January 2023 by David Philpott
Culpability and harm causedAt the outset of any sentence hearing the court must consider the culpability of the person appearing before the court and also the level harm that has been caused to the victim. Culpability is assessed by reference to factors including a person’s intention, their level of involvement, the extent to which their actions were premeditated, and the degree of planning and sophistication. For harm regard will be had to not only the harm that was actually caused but also what was intended and what might have been foreseen in the circumstances.
Aggravating and mitigating mattersThe court will then go on to consider any aggravating and mitigating matters. Aggravating factors include previous convictions, whether the person was on bail, the issue of hostility and whether the victim was an emergency worker. Consideration will also be given to matters such as whether or not the offender was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, if it was a group action, whether a weapon was used and the vulnerability of the victim. Mitigating factors include whether or not a person has recent or relevant previous convictions, previous good character and remorse. Additionally, consideration should be given to a person’s age and level of maturity, health related issues and caring responsibilities. There are other factors that the court must take into account before coming to any decision including a reduction in sentence if a person has pleaded guilty to an offence. The earlier in the proceedings such a plea is entered the more credit that should be afforded. Once the court has come to a decision that must then be explained to the person being sentenced and reasons given for the decision.
Olliers experience in the Magistrates CourtSentencing in the Magistrates Court can be a complex process and if you are to appear in court it is essential that you seek representation as soon as possible. At Olliers we have a vastly experienced team of advocates who represent people in Magistrates Courts across the country. If you would like to speak to us about a court hearing please get in touch with us.
- About the Author
- Latest Posts
Admitted as a solicitor in 1992 David has a wealth of experience and is one of the most respected Magistrates Court advocates in the country. He has specialised in criminal defence work throughout his career and understands that appearing before a court can be very daunting whatever the nature of the allegation that a person faces.