An appeal is able to be made to a higher court, by any person convicted or sentenced by a lower court. Generally, you will need to show that there has been an error of law if making an appeal, except where the appeal is between local court and district court.
If, in your absence, a conviction or sentence is has been made against you, you can apply for an annulment. You have two years from the date of the conviction or appeal to lodge an application with a registrar of the local court in which the conviction or sentence was made. You may also apply directly to the Minister.
If the local court is satisfied that you were unaware of the original proceedings until after their completion, if you were prevented from attending the original proceedings, due to accident, injury or other serious cause, or if it is found in the interest of justice to do so, an annulment may be granted. An annulment does not mean that your charges will be dismissed, rather, the court will hear the original charges again, at a later date, or immediately if deemed appropriate
A District Court Judge will hear an appeal against a sentence that has been imposed by a Local Court Magistrate. A solicitor or barrister will generally appear on your behalf, while the Director of Public Prosecutions will appear for the police.
An appeal against conviction or sentence from the Local Court or District Court can be made if it is lodged within 28 days of the matter’s finalisation. If your conviction was made in your absence, or your conviction follows a guilty plea, you will need to be granted leave (permission) from the District Court to apply for an appeal against your conviction.
The leave of the District Court will also need to be sought if your appeal is filed within three months, but after 28 days, from the finalisation of the original matter. If three months or more has lapsed since the finalisation of the matter, an appeal cannot be made against the decision o0f a Local Court Magistrate.
An appeal against your conviction can be made to the CCA (Court of Criminal Appeal) if you have been convicted of an indictable offence in a District or Supreme Court. This court will hear appeals which are based on any ground, involving a question of law alone, or – with the Court’s leave, or with a certificate from the trial Judge – on any ground which involves a question of fact alone, or a question of fact and law combined, or, if the Court deems it sufficient, any other ground for appeal.
There are many aspects that the CCA may deliberate on, when considering an appeal - whether there were any miscarriages of justice during the trial, such as inadmissible evidence, improper directions to the jury. If they feel the verdict was unreasonable, wrong in law or not supported by the evidence. They may also allow an appeal on any other ground, based on their discretion.
Contact our criminal lawyers if you require any advice as to your conviction appeal.