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What Happens In A Sentencing Hearing

Video Transcript

Welcome to our website. My name is Mike Kruse. I’m the principal and owner of Kruse Law Firm. I’m here today to talk about the sentencing phase in Canadian criminal law. It’s called a sentencing hearing. So obviously, if you’ve been found guilty of a criminal offense or you pled guilty to a criminal offense, the judge has to decide what is the appropriate sentence to impose in your particular case and this is based on a myriad of factors and the judge, we go into the sentencing phase, that’s sentencing hearing. At that hearing obviously the judge has all of the facts of the crime that you committed so crimes sometimes are aggravated, sometimes they’re lessened crimes. It depends on the situation, for example, in a domestic assault, a slap in the face is a lot less serious than someone with a broken nose. Obviously the person with the slap of the face is going to receive quite a lesser sentence. Those are called aggravating and mitigating factors that the judge has to examine so he has to look at the facts of the case. Second, he has to look, he or she has to look, at the offender’s background. It’s my job as a lawyer to present you in the best possible light, say you have no prior criminal record, you’ve been an upstanding member of the community. You made a mistake. We might do counseling for you. We may get character reference letters. This is all presented to the judge at the sentencing hearing. A sentencing hearing can take an hour, it could take all day. On a serious case it could take multiple days. It’s our role then to try and mitigate that – lessen your sentence. And the judge has to take into account all factors. Conversely, the crown’s trying to get the longest sentence possible. There are ranges of sentences in Canadian law, the judge has to sentence you basically within that range but my job as defense counsel is to try and get you as light as we can in that range, you know, given the facts of the offense and your background so that’s it, that’s the sentencing hearing and it’s an interesting process. It’s a real skill and art form to present you in the best possible light and that’s our job and that’s what we’re going to do for you in court.

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