17 Nov Sentencing Submissions Following a Guilty Plea
Sentencing Submissions Following a Guilty Plea
After pleading guilty to an offence the defendant appears before the Court for sentencing submissions. This is when we tell the Court about our client’s personal circumstances, the circumstances of the offending and what kind of sentence they should receive.
There are a number of factors that the Court takes into account when determining what sentence to impose.
A defendant’s education, past and present employment, family responsibilities and criminal history are all matters which are considered by the Court.
A defendant’s time in custody whilst awaiting sentence is also relevant. For example, it may be the defendant’s first time in custody therefore the experience would generally weigh more heavily on them as they would not be used to the substantial change in lifestyle and restriction of freedom.
This year one of our client’s was denied significant dental treatment whilst in gaol awaiting sentence. Correctional Services rules and regulations stipulate that a prisoner is unable to obtain any substantial dental work whilst on remand. This meant that our client was in custody for almost a year without dentures. He usually has dentures when in the Community however they were lost during his arrest and subsequent incarceration.
We asked the Court to take into account that our client had a significantly harder time in custody than other prisoners because of his disability. In light of these health issues, we asked the Court to consider a home detention sentencing option or alternatively, impose a lower than usual non-parole period.
The Court agreed that our client’s lack of dental treatment had resulted in a tougher time in gaol and therefore imposed a low sentence with a lower than usual non-parole period. Our client is expected to be released on parole in early 2017.
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