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  • Rai Gill

Appealing Against Conviction from the Crown Court

If your case was heard and conducted in the Crown Court (i.e. on indictment), there exists a route to appeal to the Court of Appeal.


This is not an automatically exercisable right. A defendant must apply in order to appeal, and this will only be granted if there is sufficient merit in the grounds (basis and arguments) of the appeal.


Application


An application can be made to the Court of Appeal to grant “leave” (permission) to appeal. This application must be lodged within 28 days from the date of conviction and will be considered by a single Judge. If leave/permission is granted, the appeal will then be heard in the Court of Appeal by a “full court” of three Judges.


If the application for leave/permission is refused, a further and final application (known as a renewed application) can be made within 14 days of the refusal. This application comes before a full court of three judges who will decide whether to grant leave.


Leave


The trial or sentencing Judge in the Crown Court may also grant leave, by way of a certificate, for an appeal to be heard in the Court of Appeal. This certificate can only be granted if there are “exceptional circumstances”, and is rarely issued.


If leave is granted, a hearing date for the appeal to be heard will be set. The appeal will usually be heard by three judges, of which at least one will be a Lord or Lady Justice of Appeal.


The basis of the appeal will be to prove that the conviction is “unsafe”. That is to say, that the Court, considering all the circumstances, concludes that the Appellant ought not to have been convicted of the charge against him, i.e. that there are doubts as to whether justice has been done.


Grounds for Appeal


Grounds for arguing an appeal include (but are not limited to):


  1. New evidence;

  2. Misdirection or mistakes of the trial Judge;

  3. Procedural irregularities; and

  4. Poor representation.


Conversely, however, no appeal should be granted if the conviction is deemed “safe”, or appropriate, even where there may have been irregularities, errors, or a misdirection of law. The key issue for the Court of Appeal is whether justice has been done, and whether the conviction can be safely retained.


Outcome


Depending on whether or not the appeal is successful, the Court has a number of options in the exercise of its jurisdiction. The Court may:


- Quash the conviction

- Quash the conviction and direct that there be a re-trial

- Quash the conviction and substitute a conviction for an alternative offence

- Quash the conviction and amend the sentence of any related offence

- Dismiss the appeal


Additionally, following a successful appeal, the Prosecution may apply to the Court of Appeal for leave to prefer a new indictment (i.e. request that there be a re-trial). Such an application must be made within two months of the date of judgement.


Legal disclaimer: Articles are intended as an introduction to the topic and do not constitute legal advice. The information contained herein is accurate at the date of publication but please note that the law is ever changing and evolving. If you require advice in relation to any matter raised in this article please contact a member of the team.

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