Allocutus and Sentence: An Overview

Allocutus and Sentence:


Criminal trials usually end with the sentence of the Defendant. The court shall have the right to decide on the fate of the Defendant depending on the evidence adduced by the prosecution and which was not challenged or controverted by the Defendant. A criminal trial is usually decided on the ground of the Prosecution proving his case beyond a reasonable doubt. The reasonable doubt does not culminate to proving beyond all iota of doubt instead it is beyond every doubt that would have emanated from a reasonable man.

In course of the trial, the parties will be expected to file final written addresses containing the summary of their various cases. The prosecution has been able to state in the final written address that he has been able to prove his case and that the Defendant should be convicted for the alleged crime. While the Defendant should in his final written address state that he has also laid a defence to the crime to which he was sued. The court would be faced with the choice of deciding whether to convict the Defendant or to discharge and acquit him.

READ ALSO: Confessional Statement and Trial Within Trial

The Defendant is discharged and acquitted when the Defendant is set-free. He will be exonerated from the crime that he was charged with in court.

However, there is a time the Defendant will be convicted for the crime that he is charged for. When the defendant is convicted of the alleged crime. The next phase is the court sentencing him for the punishment.

However, the Court may decide to allow the Defendant to give the reason why his punishment for the crime will be reduced. Allocutus is the privilege given to the Defendant convicted for a crime in a criminal matter, for him to give reasons why his punishment will be mitigated or reduced. Allocutus is usually obtained by the trial judge when the defendant is convicted of a crime. It is usually done before his sentence.

The Defendant’s reasons for the mitigation of his sentence may include the following: He is a first-timer, he admitted to the commission of the crime even without the full trial (when this was done with a remorseful heart), and many other reasons.


The Court in a criminal trial will always end the proceeding with the conviction or discharge and acquittal of the Defendant. In the case where the court finds in favour of the prosecution in a criminal trial and convicts the Defendant, the court will then sentence the Defendant to the punishment provided for the crime. The sentence is the punishment for which the Defendant is placed on for the crime he has been convicted of. The Defendant shall only be sentenced for the crime he has been convicted for.

READ ALSO: Preliminary Objections in Criminal Law (Pt. 1)

Its after the sentence that the Defendant can decide to appeal against the judgment or to serve the punishment. The Sentence can take the form of life imprisonment, Death Penalty, imprisonments, payment of fines and community service. The president in some jurisdictions may decide to grant the Defendant pardon after his conviction and sentence.

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