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What happens if I pay it all back?
Where you have been charged with a criminal offence which involves the complainant being deprived in one way or another of funds. We are then asked by clients what effect there would be on the issues at court if recompense is made before the client is sentenced.
The simple response must be that if indeed the client accepts that the money is owed, and if the client can find an appropriate way of repaying it, then undoubtedly he should do so. This applies whether the sum is small or large, and irrespective of the affect on the complainant.
Clients will usually ask us to persuade the court of their remorse. As always, the things clients do to demonstrate that remorse will speak more clearly than anything we can do.
Even so, clients must understand that in our criminal law system there is no place for any bargain to be struck between a defendant and the court. There is no opportunity for the courts to say that if the sum is repaid you will not, for example, go to prison. Indeed, according to the circumstances, the court may conclude that the sentence will remain unchanged. This would however be unusual.
The fact that any repayment is made without knowing that any consequences will flow directly from that repayment, adds to our ability to urge the court to accept it as a genuine indication of a clients remorse.
Though politicians and the newspapers may wish it was otherwise, every defendant is different from the previous defendant, and every case is different from the previous case. The decision about whether or not to make a repayment and if so how and when can be a fine one. We will be happy to advise you on particular circumstances of your case.
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