[Stuart O’Connell is a lawyer and head of O’Connell Law Group, a Toronto-based law firm which focuses on defence-side criminal and civil litigation, privacy law, and victim rights.  He also regularly works in association with Donich Law Professional Corporation]

It is improper to assign sentencing benefits because accused persons have foregone their right to testify in their own defence. This sends an inappropriate message.

 In R. v. Claros, 2019 ONCA 626, the Court of Appeal for Ontario held that the trial judge had erred in principle in treating as mitigating the fact that the accused did not testify in his own defence and “did not lie about anything or try to mislead [the court].” Honesty with the court is something that is expected and required by law.