Bereavement and loss at the sentencing stage
This chapter examines issues of bereavement and loss as they are likely to arise in the course of a criminal trial, with particular focus on the sentencing of a defendant after conviction. It considers criminal cases pursuant to a fatality and examines the ways in which bereavement and loss occasioned to the victim's family is addressed and managed during the court process. Cases of such seriousness will always be heard in the Crown Court. The chapter also considers the different question of the relevance of a defendant's experience of bereavement or loss as a factor in the sentencing by a court of that defendant for a criminal offence. The sentencing stage is procedurally different from trial, with less emphasis on an adversarial contest between prosecution and defence. The range of material which can be adduced as personal mitigation is very wide, with judges and magistrates able to take account of any matter which appears to be relevant.