Our firm represents a lot of people that who been charged with assault, domestic assault, harassment, that is criminal harassment, sexual assault, those type of violent offences against a victim and you know some of our clients want to resolve the case. They admit they are guilty and want to obviously receive the lightest sentence possible. The most minimum jail term or the lightest fine situation or the least amount of probation and a common strategy in this particular situation is to first of all, I’m going to meet with the Crown Attorney to discuss the entire case. The nature of the injuries if there are any and all of the mitigating and aggravating factors in the client’s background. So that’s called a crown pretrial and one of the topics that I canvass at that pretrial is look my client wants to plead guilty. This is an early opportunity to plead that shows remorse. They are very remorseful and they regret their conduct. They’re accept full responsibility. This is a situation which if you come forward like this it can result in the most minimal penalty in the circumstances. There’s a range of sentences so that Crown can’t go below a certain range but we want to be on that lower end of the range. One of the strategies we use and suggest to clients and discuss with the Crown is look if our client takes some upfront counselling for anger management, for sexual recidivism that is boundaries of sexual assault and what not with an expert counsellor, will that assist in potentially lowering the sentence?
The short answer is yes it typically does. If a Judge for example has a range of sentence that is 2 to 3 years for a date rape situation and that’s a typical range for a date rape situation in the province, the Judge might be predisposed to go closer to that 2 year range if you show all of that remorse and take that counselling. Similarly on a domestic assault matter, let’s take a case where there’s minimal injuries or no injuries if you take upfront counselling and show that remorse it might assist even in avoiding a criminal record.
So the short answer to this is yes. Upfront counselling if you are wanting to resolve your case can assist. More importantly we say to clients look don’t just go into counselling for a result. You need the counselling. You need this anger management. We encourage it and by the way it’s going to help you get the lightest sentence possible.