The law might appear to be unforgiving and oppressive for offenders receiving their sentence. This article suggests it might not entirely be so because the plea in mitigation indicates that justice will prevail.
A plea in mitigation ensures that the sentence imposed is the most fitting for the offence committed. It gives the offender a chance to explain his/her actions upon pleading guilty. This provides a second chance to the offender and uphold justice because it provides him/her with an opportunity to be heard. A mitigation plea lists down reasons for the imposition of a lighter sentence for the Court’s consideration. Several examples of mitigating factors are as follows:
- Personal Background (i.e family, educational, employment history);
- Presence of any medical condition;
- Plead guilty date from time of offence;
- Restitution (i.e willingness to put the victim back in the position he/she was in before the crime);
- Previous Antecedents;
- Harm caused to the victim;
- Assistance provided to the police;
- Premeditation of the crime; and
- Long Standing good character.
A mitigation plea will be presented to the Court on the date the offender decides to plead guilty. The Court will ask the offender if he/she wants to give an explanation why he/she committed the offence at that time and the reason why the Court should be compelled to be lenient in sentencing.
A plea in mitigation provides the offender a chance to account for his/her actions and beg for the Court’s mercy. This ensures that the sentence is not overly harsh and yet not overly lenient simultaneously because evidence is required to prove the mitigating factors.