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Structuring A Plea In Mitigation Notes

LPC Law Notes > Criminal Litigation Notes

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A more recent version of these Structuring A Plea In Mitigation notes – written by Cambridge And Oxilp And College Of Law students – is available here.

The following is a more accessble plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our Criminal Litigation Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:

Flowchart at P.269 Sample Plea in Mitigation

Purpose of Sentencing (s.142 CJA) P.240 Step 1: The Objective Identify the Starting Point of Sentencing P.264

Step 3: "the Offence" Minimise the Impact of Aggravating Factors P.265

Plea in Mitigation e.g. I i. ii. iii. iv. v.

Punishment (deterrence) Reduction of crime (reduction by deterrence) Rehabilitation of offenders Protection of the public ReparationEstablish your Objective: if found guilty, we will want D to have the most lenient sentence possibleDefault Sentence: the Magistrates Court Sentencing Guidelines suggest that for an offence of theft from a shop that has little or no planning or sophistication and the good stolen are of low value (which the charge of thieving a pair of PS79.99 jeans is), then then: o starting point: Band B fine (75%-125% D's weekly income starting at 100%) o ranging to: conditional discharge or a low level community order StatutoryThe court must treat the offence as more serious where previous convictions are present (s.143(2))On the facts, the convictions dated 10/03/09, 12/12/09, 29/03/10 and 29/12/10 are all spent, and therefore the defence will argue that they are not aggravating factorsThe convictions on 10/01/10 will be taken into consideration and could have an adverse effect on Daisy's sentencing. The defence should argue that the situations surrounding Daisy now are different to when she was convicted for those offences (i.e. in rehab, no longer in that relationship, not on drugs, has a new boyfriend, has a child on the way) GuidelinesNone of the aggravating factors in the Sentencing Guidelines apply to Daisy's case, i.e.: o When committing the offence, a child was not with her o Daisy was not subject to a banning order (including the target shop) o Daisy was not motivated by revenge or seek to cause harm o This was not an offence in the 'professional sense' o The victim was not particularly vulnerable (family shop operating on the same premises for thirty years) o The value of the good were not high (only PS79.99)

? Therefore, the lack of aggravating factors will mean that Daisy has a better chance of getting a more lenient sentence Step 4: Offence MitigationShe's a young girl led astray by a previous boyfriend who made her addicted to heroin which, in turn, forced her to steal to feed her addictionShe is a reformed character and has a new boyfriend who has helped her get off heroinShe is young: the court should be still trying to help and rehabilitate her, not punish herShe was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol when she was arrestedShe cooperated peacefully and was not violent or abusive when she spoke to the policeShe remained voluntarily at the store until the police arrived and did not run away, which she would have been free to doShe had a troubled childhood: she hasn't seen her mother or father (who is now in prison) since leaving home at 16 (9 in the case of her father)She has a baby on the way and doesn't have much money; a hefty fine or a prison sentence would only serve to punish he unborn child (especially because value is so low) An attempt at lowering the sentence as far as possible must be made. Take into account the court factors outlined at step one above. The court must take into account any guilty plea (s.144): Plea Reduction 1/3 [maybe 1/5 if strong prosecution First opportunity case]Step 5: "the Offender" Offender Mitigation P.265

Step 6: Give a Suggested Sentence

The value of the good stolen were of low value

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