What Is A Mitigation Plea In Criminal Proceedings In Singapore?

What Is A Mitigation Plea In Criminal Proceedings In Singapore?

What Is A Mitigation Plea?

After conviction and before a sentence is passed, a person who pleads guilty or has been found guilty will be entitled to make a mitigation plea. A mitigation plea is a written or oral statement that presents relevant factors that could positively assist the accused in his or her sentencing, and sets out the reasons why the accused should be given a lighter punishment as opposed to a harsher one.

When Is A Mitigation Plea Presented?

A mitigation plea is presented for sentencing purposes, during which the judge will decide on the appropriate sentence for an accused person. Whether you decide to plead guilty, or you have been found guilty via trial, a draft mitigation plea should be prepared in advance

In particular, if you are pleading guilty to the charges brought against you, it is strongly encouraged that you submit a written mitigation plea prior to the PG Hearing. This provides the judge that is deciding on your sentence some time to go through your mitigation plea priot to the hearing.

Aside from the written mitigation plea, the accused (if representing himself) or defence counsel (if accused is represented) will also be given the opportunity to orally present this plea-in-mitigation before the court, before the judge passes the sentence.

Objectives Of A Mitigation Plea

A mitigation plea seeks to highlight relevant mitigating factors in your criminal matter and to emphasize these factors for the Court’s consideration in a bid to lower the Court’s sentence, and soften any negative impacts that potential aggravating factors could have on the sentence.

What Are Some Relevant Mitigating Factors?

Specific Mitigating Factors

These are factors that aim to reduce the seriousness of the particular offence(s) committed.

Examples of Specific Mitigating Factors

  • Low level of harm, loss or detriment suffered by a victim
  • Provocation

Personal Mitigating Factors

These are factors that aim to state the personal circumstances of the accused that could merit leniency.

Examples of Personal Mitigating Factors

  • Being a first-time offender
  • Good character
  • Co-operation with the authorities
  • Making restitution to a victiM

Other Considerations When Preparing A Mitigation Plea:

Aggravating Factors

Aside from mitigating factors, it is also important to consider the aggravating factors. Generally, the court’s aim in sentencing is based on the principles of deterrence, prevention and retribution. Depending on the principles considered, the court will note both the aggravating factors and mitigating factors of each offence carefully, and sentence the accused accordingly.

Sentencing Benchmarks

A mitigation plea usually includes an assessment of the likely penalties that the court will impose for the accused’s offence, and a submission of the desired outcome. This is usually done by looking at past sentencing benchmarks and precedents, and then presenting a cohesive argument on the desired outcome.

Qualifying A Plea

When preparing a mitigation plea in the situation where you have decided to plead guilty, it is necessary to avoid qualifying the plea. Briefly, qualifying your plea means bringing up facts in your mitigation that contradict the guilty plea.

One way of thinking about this is that if you have chosen to plead guilty, you cannot bring up matters that would either absolve you of guilt or demonstrate a valid defence to the offence in question.

In this situation, the court will not be able to accept an accused’s plea of guilt, and the court will direct the matter to go back to a pre-trial conference to determine if it is necessary to proceed to trial.


If you require assistance with a potential criminal matter, we can assist. Just get in touch with us through our contact form below and we will follow up with you regarding your matter.

Alternatively, you may wish to get in touch by contacting us at: 6550 6359

Contact Form

Filed under: Criminal Defence
Bonsai Law

Bonsai Law

A Law Firm with a Modern Mindset and a Traditional Work Ethic.

Read More Articles or View Profile