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Sentencing hearing

Sentencing will usually be held on a separate day and will take place in a court in front of a judge or magistrate.

Once a person has pleaded guilty to a criminal offence or been found guilty following a trial they will be sentenced.

The appropriate sentence will be decided at a sentencing hearing. This will often be held on a separate day to the trial or hearing, will take place in a court and be conducted by a judge or magistrate.

The sentencing decision is taken by the judge or magistrate. The prosecution have a duty to assist the court when sentencing and may present or draw the judge or magistrates’ attention to any information relevant to the sentencing decision including aggravating and mitigating factors, a victim personal statement and any relevant legislation, case law or sentencing guidelines. The defence may put forward evidence and arguments as to what the sentence should be. The court may also obtain a pre-sentence report and other reports, such as a medical report, to help them decide the most appropriate sentence.

Once the sentence has been decided it must be stated in open court. The court must also explain, in ordinary language, the reasons for the sentence and the effect of the sentence on the offender.

You can also find information about sentencing on Directgov.