Criminal Sentencing in Toronto
A sentencing hearing is always conducted after an accused person is convicted of a crime. It occurs regardless of whether the accused pleads guilty, or is found guilty at trial. These hearings can be relatively simple (taking only a few minutes), or complex (taking more than a day). Typical sentences include time in custody, probation, fines, and restitution.
Sentencing HearingDuring a sentencing hearing, the Crown Prosecutor will typically restate the facts of the case from the beginning to end. As the duty of the prosecutor is to present the case fairly, they often include factors that are both positive and negative to be considered in sentencing the offender.
If a presentence report (psr) was completed, it will be given to the judge for him to read prior to the sentencing hearing. The crown attorney will typically highlight the key findings from this report.
Defence lawyers will typically attempt to portray the offender and the offence in the following ways:
1) The offense was out of character;
2) The offense was due to an drug or alcohol problem that the offender can or is in the process of dealing with;
3) That the offender is remorseful;
4) That the offender has accepted responsibility;
5) That the harm caused was minimal;
6) That the offender lacks a criminal history;
7) That the offender has enrolled in courses to deal with his mental issues.
In supporting these portrayals, defence lawyers will highlight the offender's criminal history, personal or social circumstances, employment history, actions undertaken since being charged (rehab, therapy etc.), and favourable finding in the PSR (if ordered).
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