The Court of Appeal gives the persons convicted of an offence a means to appeal the decision made by the courts. In addition to giving a chance to appeal a guilty verdict, the court of Appeal also permits the convicted person to appeal against the sentence that they received.
The task of persuading judges in the Court of Appeal differs greatly from that of persuading juries since the Court of Appeal has just three senior judges with no jury. In addition, the advocacy style needs to suit this type of audience.
What good criminal appeals barristers do is to get the judges to take keen interest in the case they are arguing about and appreciate the seriousness of their complaint and strength of their arguments.
Even though you can appeal a verdict on many grounds, the most common are:
- Discovery of fresh evidence: The evidence needs to be admissible, believable, and relevant
- Errors in law made by the prosecution or judge during the trial
- In case the verdict of the jury is unreasonable and inconsistent
- Complaints about a judge summing up to a jury
In order to appeal a verdict or sentence successfully, you need first to apply to the courts for the leave to appeal or right to appeal. Once it is granted, you can proceed with the appeal.
Appealing A Conviction/Verdict
Usually, it is only possible to appeal a verdict if you had entered a plea of not guilty to the crime in the first place. Usually, you will be able to appeal the verdict if new evidence has surfaced that can alter the verdict arrived at by the court or if a particular trial process was not followed properly. You need to seek legal advice to ascertain whether any new evidence that surfaces is admissible and if it can make a difference to the outcome of your case.
A criminal appeals barrister persuades the Court of Appeal judges that a particular criminal conviction was an unsafe one in the hope that it will be quashed. In some cases, this is usually the end of the matter. However, depending on circumstances, the Court of Appeal can order for a re-trial. The re-trial gives the accused a second chance to challenge the prosecutions evidence with the hope of being acquitted by the jury.
Appealing A Sentence
You have the right to appeal the sentence that was handed down to you whether you entered a plea of guilty or not guilty.
When an appeals barrister conducts an appeal against a sentence, he or she attempts to persuade the Court of Appeal judges that the sentence the criminal trial judge passed was far too severe. A good barrister should have done this successfully over the years whereby sentences are quashed and replaced with something a bit more lenient. In some instances, sentences are reduced that the clients can go home immediately after the appeal hearing.
In conclusion, it is possible to appeal both a conviction as well as a sentence. To ensure that your appeal will be successful it is important to hire good criminal appeals barristers. They are your best chance for getting your life back.