Written basis of plea and Newton hearings

The following Corporate Crime practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Written basis of plea and Newton hearings
  • Procedure in a written basis of plea
  • Basis of plea to reflect the facts
  • Matters outside the prosecution’s knowledge
  • Friskies Schedules
  • Disagreement on the facts
  • Newton hearings
  • Procedure for a Newton hearing

Written basis of plea and Newton hearings

When defendants are guilty, they have a choice to plead guilty or to put the prosecution to proof. When they plead guilty they may benefit from a reduction in their sentence as a result, see Practice Note: Credit for guilty plea. However, the Sentencing Council's overarching guidelines on reduction in sentence for a guilty plea expressly limits the ability to claim credit where the defendant's plea has been followed by a Newton hearing at which the defendant's version of events have been rejected. The overarching guidelines state:

'...the reduction which would have been available at the stage of proceedings the plea was indicated should normally be halved. Where witnesses are called during such a hearing, it may be appropriate further to decrease the reduction.'

Practitioners therefore should always consider carefully any basis of plea and be aware of the potential impact an unsuccessful Newton hearing may have on any expected credit. Practitioners should also ensure that they advise their clients on both of these matters before any plea is entered and that a detailed record of these discussions is made.

Note that before entering a plea of guilty, a defendant may seek an indication of sentence under the procedure set out in R v Goodyear, see Practice Note: Indications on sentence.

Procedure in a written basis of plea

The basis of plea agreed

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