The “have you thought about this?’ checklist for sentencing submissions in the Magistrates Court.
Once it has been established that a plea of guilty is the appropriate course of action, lawyers then next consider what are the arguments or reasons that can be offered to the court to support the lowest possible penalty to satisfy the balancing sentencing considerations.
I often explain to my clients to think of it as a “buffet” of sentencing options. Every time I have a plea of guilty, I crack out this list and pull out the different considerations and arguments that I think would be most appropriate for my client.
There are other factors not on this list, it is not supposed to be an exhaustive “tick and flick” but an exercise to limber up those mental muscles and force a more considered approach to the task.
My role is then to work with the client to gather the materials that I cannot do for them (such as organising references or a letter of remorse). For my sentences, I like to have as many different arguments as I can up my sleeve and use as few as I need to do to achieve what I want.
When you are standing at the bar table pushing your case, it is helpful to have a document to work from to ensure you have put everything before the court.
After you have sat down and the Magistrate is considering the sentence, it deeply sucks to have to stand back up and say “one more thing”, or worse interrupt the Magistrate when they have started sentencing!
Because lawyers love a good disclaimer – here is ours – It boils down to: If you need legal advice see a lawyer. Dr Google isn’t going to prescribe you meds if you are sick, Google LLB isn’t going to give you advice or information specific to your situation.
If you need legal assistance. See a lawyer.
You might not read it, but we will rely on it if you try and sue us (smug face).