The Appeal Process

When a person pleads guilty, or is found guilty by a Court, they will be sentenced.  In some cases the conviction or sentence imposed by the court is capable of challenge.

There can be many reasons for appealing a conviction or sentence but the main reasons are that it is believed the original court made a mistake in finding the defendant guilty or it is believed the sentence is too high or part of the sentence is not appropriate.

Appeal from the Magistrates’ Court

When a person is sentenced in the Magistrates’ Court and the defendant wishes to appeal, an application must be lodged at the Court within 21 days from the date of sentence.

Upon receiving the appeal notice the Crown Court will arrange a hearing where the appeal will be heard.

If a conviction is being appealed then this will mean a complete rehearing of the evidence.  Witnesses will be called to provide evidence again.  This would take place in front of a Judge and two magistrates at the Crown Court.  As the case involves a re-hearing, sentence may not be the same if a person loses their appeal.  They may be dealt with more seriously.

If the appeal is in relation to sentence alone, this can result in a lesser sentence.  Again, however, the Judge and Magistrates can increase the sentence imposed.

If the appeal is successful the new sentence will be imposed and no additional costs will be ordered. However if the appeal is unsuccessful the Court may impose additional financial costs.

Staff at VHS Fletchers Solicitors have a long history of successfully appealing cases from the Magistrates’ Court to the Crown Court.

A recent case successfully challenged the imposition of a football banning order.

Crown Court Appeal 

When a person is sentenced at the Crown Court an appeal must be made to the Court of Appeal. The appeal is initially in writing and a single judge will determine whether the case has sufficient merit to be placed before the full Court of Appeal for argument.

If the Appeal is against conviction the Court can order a re-trial in the Crown Court.  The case is sent back to the Court to be heard again.

If the appeal is only against sentence the court cannot increase the sentence.  It can only reduce the sentence or dismiss the appeal.  Pursuing an appeal that is without merit can mean that a person in prison loses some of the time that they have served.

For more information about appealing criminal convictions or to instruct a football law specialist at VHS Fletchers please contact us using the form below or contact one of our experts.

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