Effect of entering plea of guilty: Benefit of discount in sentence must be appropriately accorded to the accused

Supreme Court of Western Australia: A Single Judge Bench of Jenkins, J., allowed an appeal filed against the order of magistrates court of Western Australia, whereby the appellant was sentenced to 6 months’ imprisonment without allowing appropriate reduction under the Sentencing Act, 1995.

The main issue that arose before the Court was whether the lower court was justified in sentencing the appellant to 6 months’ imprisonment for the offence of stealing, even though the appellant pleaded guilty.

The Court observed that as per the provisions of Section 9AA of the Sentencing Act, 1995, if an accused pleads guilty for the commission of an offence then the magistrate should mention the effect of such plea taken by the accused while passing the sentencing order. Even a late plea of guilty would warrant some reduction in sentence or a discount in the sentence. In the present case, the appellant had pleaded guilty at the first instance when he was produced before the magistrate and hence such plea was entered at an initial stage. The earliness of the plea of guilty had to be balanced against the strength of the prosecution case and there had to be some consideration of the competing factors by the magistrate.

The Court held that the sentencing judge had overlooked the provisions of the Sentencing Act, 1995 and the effect of the plea of guilty taken by accused was not discussed in the sentencing order. If the sentencing judge would have considered the plea taken by the accused then there would have been some mention of the competing factors relevant to determining the amount of the discount to be given for the plea of guilty. Resultantly, the appeal was allowed and the order of the lower court was set aside. [Jake Leon Thom v. Carly Davies, (2018) WASC 324, order dated 19-10-2018]

Join the discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.