There are a number of reasons why a court will accept a guilty plea as a mitigating factor on sentence:
· A guilty plea may be an expression of remorse and an acceptance of responsibility;
· A guilty plea may save the justice system the time and expense of a trial, and
· A guilty plea may provide a degree of finality from the perspective of the victims which would not exist without the plea.
A plea of guilt does not entitle an offender to a set standard of mitigation. The amount of credit a guilty plea attracts will vary in each case.
R. v. F.H.L., 2018 ONCA 83, at para. 22
[guilty plea did not deserve any weight as a mitigating factor].
The effect of a guilty plea in setting the appropriate sentence will vary with the circumstances of each case. In some cases, a guilty plea is a demonstration of remorse and a positive first step towards rehabilitation. In other cases, a guilty plea is simply a recognition of the inevitable.
R. v. Faulds (1994), 20 O.R. (3d) 13 (ONCA.), at para. 14;
R. v. Carreira, 2015 ONCA 639, 337 O.A.C. 396, at para. 15.
Therefore, where there are triable issues and a guilty plea is being made nonetheless, counsel should state as much. A very brief account of what those triable issues are adds credence to the claim.