Common scene at court appearance
Phillip Gibson | 05.10.2014
Keywords: Appeal, law, Overview
We understand that the disappointment can seem overwhelming when a conviction or sentence goes against you. After solid case preparation, it can certainly be a letdown to realise that not everything went the way that you’d expected. But options remain, and an appeal to a higher court might be viable. In this article, we provide a brief outline of the appeals process – including lodgement, preparation and the different types of appeal that are available. It’s important to remain focused on justice and to talk candidly with our specialist criminal appeal lawyers about the ideas and objectives you have for your appeal.
When appealing a conviction at the local court, it is possible to lodge your appeal at the same location where your original case was heard. Our criminal appeal lawyers will assist you with the paperwork that you are required to sign. An appeal filing fee is payable to the court. Importantly, the appeal must be lodged within 28 days of the date of the court order you are appealing. Be careful with dates-it can be easy to get confused on these basic yet crucial details. You cannot leave the procedural elements of an appeal to chance. If you have any doubts about the process of lodging an appeal, our specialist criminal appeal lawyers will be able to navigate the path for you.
There are basically three types of appeal that you can lodge, which will be heard in the district court. A conviction appeal seeks to appeal the decision made by the magistrate to convict you. In a severity appeal, while it is acknowledged that the conviction will stand, the severity of the sentence is appealed and an alternative penalty is sought. The all grounds appeal combines these two – it is an appeal against the conviction as well as the severity of the sentence.
Cases in point
To provide some examples, an all grounds appeal or conviction appeal might be lodged where you want to contest the fact that you were involved in any way with an alleged assault. You would be seeking fresh eyes to look at the case again, in order to look at the issues of conviction and/or severity.
In another matter, a severity appeal might be lodged in a child pornography case where the law is particularly stringent. Let us say that offending images that flashed up while you were on your computer are actually found on your hard drive by law enforcement, despite your evidence in court that you never knowingly possessed them. While the actual conviction may stand under child pornography law, depending on whether the District Court found that you “possessed” the images, a severity appeal provides the opportunity for the court to look at the circumstances surrounding the “possession” of the images that could serve to reduce or alter the severity of the sentence.
Preparation is key
It can be challenging to get started on your appeal. It is essential that you are aware of all the important steps in the appeals process – and asking for assistance along the way can be your best defence. When it comes to assistance, help from our firm of Sydney criminal defence lawyers can make a big difference to the outcome of a case. An experienced criminal lawyer can help with all aspects of an appeal, and help you present your case the best possible way.
Facebook: The basics of the Australian appeals process: Knowing your next move.