An appeal against the duration of a sentence passed by the Crown Court may be lodged by an aggrieved defendant, in certain circumstances, to the Court of Appeal.
Steve Micklewright from Kangs Solicitors outlines some of the matters which have to be considered and general steps attaching to the appeal process.
Advice On Sentence and Appeal | Kangs Criminal Advisory Team
Sentencing Guidelines for the judiciary provide, on the whole, a reliable indication of the sentence which any convicted defendant can expect to receive and these provide a solid basis upon which a defendant’s expectations can be managed during the prosecution process.
However, situations regularly arise where, perhaps as a consequence of unexpected serious evidence being given by a witness during the hearing, or a mistake on the part of the Trial Judge, the sentence delivered is much harsher than anticipated leaving the defence team with the decision as to whether or not an appeal is justified and has merit.
Invariably, a defendant’s immediate reaction will be to appeal but the intricacies of the case may well result in the defence team requiring time to thoughtfully consider all aspects before reaching a decision as to whether or not the grounds required for an appeal can be substantiated.
Grounds For An Appeal | Kangs Criminal Defence Solicitors
The need for careful consideration by the defence team before supporting an appeal is partly based upon the fact that the Court of Appeal will not overturn the Judge’s ruling simply because, as an appeal court, it would have passed a sentence different to that decided by the Trial Judge.
Whilst there are a number of grounds for appeal, in general terms the Court of Appeal will need to be satisfied that the sentence passed is either:
• wrong in principle, or
• manifestly excessive.
The Appeal Process | Kangs Court of Appeal Solicitors
If the defence team considers that the defendant’s wish to seek an appeal has merit his counsel will prepare written ‘Grounds of Appeal’ which will accompany the completed Court Application Forms.
The Application is considered initially by a Single Judge who decides whether or not the proposed application has merit.
If he does, the application will be referred to Court for hearing but, if he does not, the appeal could still proceed to the full Court but this could be a hazardous route involving very serious risks involving a ‘loss of time’ direction and the incurrence of substantial costs if the Court considers the application to be without merit.
Other Considerations | Kangs Criminal Appeal Solicitors
- The period of time involved in an appeal depends, to some extent, upon the particular nature of the case.
- Appeals relating to short prison sentences may be expedited and heard in a short period of time although, normally, a period of six months or so is to be expected.
- Bail will only be granted in exceptional circumstances with the Court normally expediting cases that require urgent consideration.
- Most appeals are held at the Court of Appeal in London where, in most cases, the outcome is announced at the end of the hearing with the decision taking longer in more difficult matters.
How Can We Help? | Kangs Criminal Appeals Solicitors
At Kangs Solicitors we field a team with a proven track record in pursuing appeals on behalf of clients who wish to appeal their sentence and/or conviction.
Given the strict limits to appeal and the penalties open to the Court should meritless appeals proceed, it is important that you seek specialist advice as soon as possible.
If you wish assistance then please contact: