Can I appeal my conviction or sentence?
You can appeal a criminal conviction, a sentence or both. An appeal is an application for a higher court to review a matter that has been decided by a lower court. All indictable matters must be appealed to the Court of Appeal while summary conviction matters are appealed to the Court of Queen’s Bench. If an accused is prosecuted indictably, but convicted of a lesser summary offence, the appeal will still proceed to the Court of Appeal.
The appeal process is significantly different than the trial process and there are many rules that must be strictly adhered to including a 30 day window to file the Notice of Appeal. It is important to hire a defence lawyer experienced with criminal appeals. Cory Wilson has successfully appealed matters at both the Court of Appeal and the Court of Queen’s Bench.
What are the possible decisions an appeal court can make?
If the evidence does not support the conviction, the appeal court may find the offender not guilty of the offence.
New Trial Ordered
The appeal court may set aside the conviction and order a new trial if it finds that the trial was not fairly or properly conducted. The appeal court may also set aside a finding of not guilty and order a new trial where there was a significant error of law.
Substitute a Verdict of Guilt
In rare circumstances, the appeal court may overturn an acquittal, find the offender guilty of an offence and then sentence the offender. The power to substitute a verdict of guilt is only available when the offender has been tried by a judge sitting without a jury. Where a jury has acquitted the accused, the appeal court’s powers are limited to ordering a new trial.
If the appeal court finds that the trial was properly conducted, and the evidence supports the conviction, the court may dismiss the appeal. If the appeal court finds that an error was not significant, the appeal court may dismiss the appeal even though an error was found. The appeal court may dismiss an appeal against a sentence if the court is satisfied that the sentence is fit.
About Cory Wilson
Cory has represented individuals from all walks of life including lawyers, police officers, athletes, corporate executives, teachers, and everything in between. Cory believes in access to justice for every person charged with a criminal offence regardless of their economic background.