If you are charged or with a Criminal offence being investigated for having committed one, you or your lawyer may make an appeal to the Prosecution (known as Representations) either verbally or in the form of a letter at any stage of proceedings, including before you have been charged.
If you have already been charged in Court, Representations are generally written to the Prosecution as soon as possible and cannot be made after you have admitted to the charge and the statement of facts and entered an unconditional plea of guilt. The Judge will not know of the contents of the representations.
Your lawyer, depending on the case, can make different types of requests in relation to the charge or anticipated charges.
For example, you may ask the Prosecution or authorities to:
- Withdraw the charge.
- Issue a stern and/or conditional warning instead of charging you.
- Amend the charge to a less serious charge and offence – such as reducing the charge(s) to a lesser offence in the same class of offences, particularly where you do not have a valid defence. You may try to justify this request based on your personal circumstances considering the severity of the crime.
- Apply to take into consideration (TIC) charges for the purpose of sentencing.
- Ask the Prosecution for its position on sentencing.
- Negotiate with the Prosecution to come up with a common Statement of Facts.
After taking your instructions, your lawyer will ask or write to the Prosecution to raise certain legal issues, facts and circumstances surrounding the charge(s). When telling your lawyer what happened, you should not lie, for providing false information carries serious consequences, and is punishable with imprisonment.
The Prosecution may decide to agree to the contents of the representations, to impose conditions or to reject the contents of the representation. If the contents of the representations are rejected, the charges against you remain. You can instruct your lawyer on whether you wish to claim trial, plead guilty or make more representations on your behalf.