Situations In Which An Innocent Person Might Plead Guilty To A Murder Charge

In a recent case that was well publicized in Ontario, the accused actually entered a guilty plea to a sexual assault that he did not commit.

In subsequent years, it was determined conclusively to be a crime that was committed by someone else. And yet, the accused entered a guilty plea of this offense because in the trial, the evidence against him was being presented in such a compelling fashion, that he and his lawyer were convinced that he was likely to be found guilty. So he took a plea bargain which resulted in a much lower sentence.

This is a man who pled guilty to something he didn’t do because he felt that if he didn’t plead guilty, he was going to get a much stiffer sentence, and in fact that is true. Had he been found guilty, as he thought he would be, he would have received a much stiffer sentence. This was a decision based not on guilt, but rather on finding an outcome that would be more advantageous. Years later, of course, it was conclusively established that he pled guilty to something he didn’t do. And there’s a real risk to that. People have confessed to things they haven’t done. It’s a recognized phenomenon, based on all sorts of factors but usually it happens because a person comes to the conclusion that the only way they’re going to help themselves is by confessing to things they didn’t do. This situation has happened more than once and without a doubt, it has resulted in wrongful convictions.


If you, or someone you care about, is dealing with criminal law issues in the Toronto,Ontario Region, contact Adler Bytensky Prutschi Shikhman for a consultation.

This information is taken from an interview from , September 11, 2008 with Boris Bytensky, Criminal Lawyer, at Adler Bytensky Prutschi Shikhman, a Toronto Criminal Defence Law Firm. The article is provided as an information service only and should not be used as legal advice. Laws vary by jurisdiction so please consult with an appropriate legal professional if you are looking for help with a specific situation.