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What is a mitigation plea

A mitigation plea is an oral or written statement containing information about yourself or the circumstances of the offence that may result in a lower sentence imposed.

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 can be reasons, facts or circumstances that seek to persuade the judge to exercise leniency or explain why your punishment should be lower.

Whether you plead guilty or are found guilty after the trial, you have a right to make a plea in mitigation before a 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). If this happens, the judge will reject your plea of guilt and your case will 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 case.

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 the offender is 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 factor 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 the commission of the offence.
The court may take into account your criminal history and previous convictions when deciding your sentence.
The court may take into account the degree of cooperation you have given the authorities and the degree of remorse you have shown, for instance:
  • Pleading guilty early because you are sorry for what you have done.
  • Helping the police in their investigations.
  • Voluntarily surrendering yourself to the police voluntarily.
The court may take into account the degree of your involvement in the commission of the offence, for instance:
  • How much you benefited from the offence.
  • The extent of your role in the commission of the offence.
  • Whether there were any extraneous factors and pressures causing you to commit the offence.
  • Whether serious harm was caused to others.
  • Whether you received instructions from someone else to commit the offence.
  • Whether you planned to commit the offence beforehand.
  • Whether you were provoked into committing the offence.
The courts may take into account the efforts which you have made to reduce, or make compensation for, the harm done to the victim.
Example
Compensating the victim for the medical fees they incurred as a result of your offence is an example of restitution, which is a mitigating factor.
The courts may take into account the efforts which 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.

Need help?

The information here is for general guidance as the courts do not provide legal advice. If you need further help, you may want to get independent legal advice.

Find out more
2021/07/23

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