Maybe you have been asked to write a character reference for a person going to court for example a drink driving charge.
It is better if you have known the person for a long time and that you are of good character. What you write will be taken into consideration when the person is sentenced.
When you write the reference, try to keep the language formal and to write in an honest way about the person going to court.
Start the reference by introducing yourself: your job title and any qualifications you may have.
Next, explain your relationship to the person: how long have you known them? How do you know them? How often do you see them?
The next step is to discuss the person’s charges. Do you know why they are going to court? How has it affected them? Is the person sorry about what they did? How has it affected their life? Have they tried to pay for any damage done or have they said sorry to the victim?
You may be aware of the person’s background and family life. Have these contributed to the offending? Do they have mental health issues or drug and alcohol issues? What are they doing to address these issues?
Finally address the person’s character. Is this a first offence? Is it out of character? Are they a person who contributes to the community by doing community work for example?
Make sure the reference is typed and signed. You should address the Magistrate as “Your Honour”. Ensure the letter is free of spelling and grammatical errors. Use a letter head if you have one.