What does 'offences taken into consideration' mean?
The court may take other offences into consideration when they pass sentence
When a court is making decisions about sentencing or compensation awards something called ‘offences taken into consideration’ may be a factor if an offender has committed a lot of crimes as well as the one they are on trial for. It is an alternative to the criminal justice system having to charge the same person with a large number of offences. If the offender is prepared to fully admit to the court that they are guilty of these other crimes, the court can then ‘deal with’ the extra offences at the same time.
This can be a good thing because often the police will believe the offender committed the crimes but they don’t have enough evidence to convict them. If there is enough evidence on the other crimes, of if they are even more serious than the one on trial, they will be dealt with separately and not ‘taken into consideration’.
If the offender admits their guilt, it allows the court to deliver a form of justice for them without the risk of trying to bring another court case with poor evidence. The court also benefits from having a fuller picture of the behaviour and circumstances of the offender.
Why would anyone admit to being a criminal?
The police ask all offenders if they want to admit other crimes when they are charging them with an offence. Many offenders do confess to other crimes because they want to ‘wipe the slate clean’ and don’t want to risk being pursued for other offences later on.
Where do victims fit in all this?
Most victims think it’s better to have an offence ‘taken into consideration’ than for nothing to happen at all to bring the offender to justice. Victims of these offences can make a victim personal statement with a police officer or someone from Victim Support. The statement allows you to say, formally, how the crime has affected you. It will be given to the court and taken into consideration during sentencing or awarding of compensation.
Many victims find that it helps them to get closure on the crime when an offender is brought to justice. When other offences are taken into consideration by the court, the victims of these crimes may feel better knowing that someone has admitted to it and is being dealt with by the justice system.
Because the offender has admitted their crime, victims don’t have to go to court to give evidence which means they don’t have to go through the often difficult experience of being a witness. But they can attend court as an observer if they want to see the offences being dealt with by the court.
This process can also make if easier for victims of the offences to get compensation.
To get more information or support.
Follow the links on the right to get more information about ‘offences taken into consideration’ (some of the information on other websites is quite technical).
Your local Victim Support or Witness Service office can also help explain the process or give you support if you need it.