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Criminal Appeals

Criminal Appeals Canberra

How to Pursue Criminal Appeals in Canberra

If you believe you have been wrongly convicted of a crime or received a harsh sentence, know that you have the right to pursue criminal appeals in Canberra. It could be that you believe you have been conviction itself is wrong or there may be an argument that one or more legal errors occurred in the handling of your case and may have affected your outcome. Consulting an experienced team of criminal appeal lawyers will give you a sense of whether you can or should pursue an appeal for your case. 

What to Expect from Criminal Appeals in Canberra

If you decide to pursue a criminal appeal in Canberra or elsewhere in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), here are a few details you will want to keep in mind.

  • All appeals will be made to one of two courts: Appeals of convictions or sentences of matters heard in the ACT Magistrates Court are appealed to the ACT Supreme Court and presided over by a single judge. Appeals of convictions or sentences of the matters heard in the ACT Supreme Court, meanwhile, must be appealed to the ACT Court of Appeal and will be presided over by three judges.
  • You have a limited amount of time to appeal: If you are planning to appeal either an ACT Magistrate’s Court verdict or an ACT Supreme Court decision, you must lodge those appeals within 28 days of your conviction or sentencing. Otherwise, you will need to show special reasons (known as ‘leave of the court’) to appeal beyond the typical time limit.
  • Appeals take a while: Depending on the complexity of the case at hand, appeals generally take little more than half a day of court time. That’s not to say you should expect a quick resolution, though: it can commonly take six to nine months from the original verdict for a decision to be made at appeal.

What to Expect from Our Criminal Appeal Lawyers

At McKenna Taylor, our job is to help you understand every facet of Canberra criminal appeals—and to make a decision on whether pursuing an appeal is the right choice for you. Here are a few things you can expect from our team of criminal appeal lawyers.

  • An honest approach: You can count on us to be completely honest with you about your odds for appeal. In most cases, sentencing appeals are most likely in cases where it can be shown that the magistrate or judge conducting the original sentence made an error of law in the sentencing process or where the sentence is manifestly excessive. Conviction appeals, meanwhile, usually needs to be an error in the way a magistrate made their decision—or, in the case of a jury trial, an error in how the judge directed the jury to consider the case. We will review your matter thoroughly and determine whether any of these situations hold true for you.
  • Consideration of new evidence: In the majority of cases, appeals rely on the same evidence that was available in the original hearing. However, there can, in some situations, be a good reason to lead fresh evidence for the appeal. We will consider new evidence in the context of your case to determine whether entering new evidence is possible or advisable.

Pursuing a criminal appeal in Canberra is not a straightforward process. However, if you believe there has been an error in conviction or sentencing, it is certainly worth reviewing your matter with a skilled appellate lawyer. It could be that the judge, magistrate or jury committed an error in delivering a verdict or sentence for your matter, in which case it is worthwhile to pursue a criminal appeal.