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Assessment of Mitigatory Weight of an Accused Person’s Guilty Plea

Benny Tan Zhi Peng

[2023] SAL Prac 3

There are three possible justifications for treating an accused person’s guilty plea as a mitigating factor. The Singapore High Court in 2006 preferred that only one of the justifications is relevant in assessing the mitigatory weight of a guilty plea. In the 2017 case of Ng Kean Meng Terence v Public Prosecutor [2017] 2 SLR 449, the Singapore Court of Appeal departed from that position and held that all three justifications may be relevant. This article shares the findings of an empirical study done to assess the extent to which the Singapore courts have since followed the latter position, and offers some practical suggestions moving forward.