In the news, people are pleading guilty to very serious criminal charges. There are several reasons for a guilty plea. For a victim and their family, the details will not have to come out in trial or be in the news for a long period. For a defendant, they may have certainty as to the charges or possible sentence.
A defendant always chooses if they wish to enter a guilty plea or have a trial, after reviewing the case materials (disclosure) with their legal advisor, weighing their chances at trial and understanding all consequences.
A severe sentence is not a reason to plead guilty. Everyone is entitled to have a Crown Attorney prove a criminal case beyond a reasonable doubt. Those that plead guilty, should do so ONLY if they have committed all the elements of the offence(s). The defendant should know that there may be additional consequences. Persons who are refugees, visiting students or permanent refugees may be unable to attain Canadian citizenship or appeal their removal, and could be deported. A criminal record may stop someone being able to travel to the United States, obtain employment, or volunteer at their child’s school, not be able to continue in their profession or lose the ability to drive for a long period. A criminal record is permanent, so any decision to plead guilty should be carefully considered knowing all consequences, not to get it over with.