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Top Ten Tips for Court Character References in NSW

Character references for courts in New South Wales should:

1. Be typed on a letterhead, signed and dated
2. Be addressed to ‘Your Honour’
3. Use the plain words of the ‘referee’
4. Start with the referee outlining where, in what role and how long they’ve worked, and any contributions to the community
5. Say how long and in what circumstances they’ve known the defendant
6. Specify the offence before the court, that they are aware the defendant is pleading guilty and that the offence is serious
7. Make clear they are also aware of any prior offending
8. Explain their experiences with the defendant including those that suggest good character
9. Include any information that the defendant is remorseful, accepts responsibility and is unlikely to reoffend
10. Explain how a penalty such as a conviction or disqualification could impact the defendant

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