An accused’s lack of remorse is not ordinarily an aggravating factor on sentencing, as a court cannot punish the accused for failing to plead guilty or for having mounted a defence. 

R. v. Valentini [1999] O.J. No. 251 (C.A.), at paras. 82, 83; R. v. J.F., 2011 ONCA 220, at para. 84, 105 O.R. (3d) 161; aff’d on other grounds in 2013 SCC 12, [2013] 1 S.C.R. 565.

When Lack of Remorse is Relevant

Absence of remorse is a relevant factor in sentencing, however, with respect to the issues of rehabilitation and specific deterrence, in that an accused’s absence of remorse may indicate a lack of insight into and a failure to accept responsibility for the crimes committed, and demonstrate a substantial likelihood of future dangerousness.

R. v. Shah, 2017 ONCA 872, at paras. 8, 9; R. v. B. P.  (2004), 190 O.A.C. 354 (C.A.), at para. 2; R. v. Valentini, at para. 82; R. v. J.S., 2018 ONCA 675, at para. 84. 

Stuart O’Connell, O’Connell Law Group, (All rights reserved to author).