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If you have entered a plea of guilty to a criminal offence or have been found guilty after a hearing or trial, a Magistrate or Judge will conduct a sentencing hearing to determine the appropriate penalty to impose.
One of the factors that the Magistrate or Judge will take into account in determining the appropriate penalty is your remorse and contrition, that is, how sorry you are for what you have done. You can appropriately convey your feelings to the Court by writing an apology letter.
You should consider the advice below when you are writing your apology letter to the Court. I should say that there is no one right way to write your apology letter. There is no such thing as a perfect apology letter. The most important thing is that you are sincere and genuine and the words in the letter are your own.
What format should I use?
Your apology letter should be in standard letter format and be addressed to “The Presiding Magistrate” or “The Presiding Judge”, depending on whether your matter is being dealt with in the Local or District Court.
If you refer to the Magistrate or Judge within the body of your letter, you should refer to them as “Your Honour.”
You should use full sentences and paragraphs and not dot points.
You must include your full name at the end of the letter. You should then print out the letter and sign it. The letter that is tendered to the Magistrate or Judge must be the document with the original signature on it.
Whilst it is true that there is no perfect format to use, I have included some general do’s and don’ts below for you to keep in mind when writing your apology letter.
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