Co-Operation as Mitigating Factor on Sentence

By Patrick J. Ducharme. Prepared for The Law Society of Upper Canada, 5 th Annual Six-Minute Criminal Defence Lawyer Series, June 4, 2005, Toronto, Ontario.

He that hath deserved hanging may be glad to escape with a whipping.
Thomas Brooks


In Canada, co-operation by the accused with police and prosecutors has long been considered a mitigating factor in sentencing. 2 However, failure to co-operate with the authorities should not serve as an aggravating factor. 3 Co-operation is usually defined as the willingness of the accused to assist the authorities in the investigation or prosecution of others. The co-operation may take an infinite variety of forms, including, for example, participating in a “sting” operation or a controlled delivery of drugs or testifying for the
prosecution in court, or providing information anonymously to the police concerning the criminal activity of others.

There are several ways to justify at a sentencing, the co-operation of an accused as a mitigating or ameliorating element. Co-operation, after all,  signifies remorse and the recognition of a sense of responsibility in the offender.

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Co-Operation as Mitigating Factor on Sentence, by Patrick J Ducharme