What is the significance of the Charge and Statement of Facts (SOF) when you plead guilty?
- When you plead guilty to a charge, the charge and Statement of Facts (SOF) will be read to you in language which you understand and by an interpreter if necessary.
- After the charge has been read to you, you will be asked to confirm that wish to plead guilty to the charge and that you understand the nature and consequences of pleading guilty.
- The charge will contain the essential and basic details of the alleged offence such as the date, time, location, offending criminal act or conduct in question, value of property involved and identity of the victim. The prescribed and maximum punishment will also be stated in the charge.
- The SOF contains the material facts relating to the offence and which may describe the nature of your involvement and conduct in committing the offence.
- After the SOF has been read to you, you will then be asked to admit to the facts as contained in it:
- You must inform the Court if you deny or disagree with the facts contained in the SOF.
- If you disagree with parts of the SOF which are material and affect your acknowledgement and acceptance that you have committed the offence alleged, the Court will not accept your plea of guilt.
- If the Court rejects your plea of guilt, you will need to consider whether you wish to continue to dispute the facts.
- If you wish to continue to dispute the facts as contained in the SOF, the Court may require you to claim trial to the charge.
- If you do not wish to continue to dispute the facts as contained in the SOF, you must be prepared to concede and accept the facts as contained in the SOF.
- If you completely agree and accept the facts contained in the SOF, the Court will record your plea of guilt and convict you on the charge.