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24/06/24

Basis of Plea in Criminal Offences

Basis of Plea in Criminal Offences
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A defendant may plead guilty to an offence by serving a Basis of Plea which is an acknowledgement that a crime has occurred.

Circumstances regularly arise where a defendant wishes to plead guilty to some, but not all, of the charges faced, or to an offence but only on a certain set of facts. For example, the Prosecution might present the circumstances as more serious than the actual events accepted by the defendant.

A Basis of Plea enables a defendant to explain his version of events and the extent of culpability accepted. For example, a defendant can plead guilty to an offence of assault but on a basis that a weapon was not used, as may have been alleged by the Prosecution.

The manner and timing of the entering of a guilty plea may have important consequences for a defendant upon sentencing.

Amandeep Murria of KANGS outlines the operation of a basis.

The Procedure for a Basis of Plea

A Basis of Plea will normally be communicated to the Prosecution prior to the defendant being arraigned i.e. the procedure whereby a guilty plea is offered to the Court.

The Prosecution can either accept a Basis of Plea, which would avoid a trial before a Jury, or decline, with the result that a trial will follow carrying the risk to the Prosecution that a Jury may acquit the defendant of the offence(s) charged.

Any Basis of Plea agreed must be recorded in writing and signed by both Prosecution and Defence Counsel and provided to the Judge prior to the arraignment. The defendant will be sentenced according to this basis. The agreed Basis of Plea can have a significant impact on the range of sentences that is available.

A Judge always has the discretion to reject a Basis of Plea, even though agreed by both parties and may order a Newton Hearing, also known as a Trial of Issue, to enable the court to ascertain the facts.

Having considered all the evidence, a rejection by the Judge of the defendant’s version of events could have a detrimental impact on any sentencing credit which may have been available had a guilty plea without a basis been entered.

How Can We Assist?

Considering the entering of a Plea of Guilty, whether unconditionally or on a restricted basis as provided by a Basis of Plea, carries potentially enormous consequence for the defendant, as well as their family and friends.

Seeking highly experienced legal guidance is absolutely essential. Our Team at KANGS provides experience gained over many years from advising and supporting clients facing allegations of criminal conduct of every conceivable nature.

If we can be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our Team who will be delighted to assist, contact us using the details below:

Tel:       0333 370 4333

Email: info@kangssolicitors.co.uk

We provide initial no obligation discussion at our three offices in London, Birmingham, and Manchester. Alternatively, discussions can be held through live conferencing or telephone.

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