17/04/24

Appealing Against Criminal Conviction & Sentence

Appealing Against Criminal Conviction & Sentence
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As part of the Criminal Court Appeals procedure a convicted offender may appeal against conviction, sentence, or both, in England and Wales, on a number of grounds depending upon the particular circumstances of each case.

Whilst there is a readily available entitlement to lodge an Appeal, the process can be complicated, will be dependent upon acceptable grounds for appeal and the existence of very strong supportive evidence. At all times, the burden is on the offender to justify their Appeal.

Amandeep Murria of KANGS provides a brief overview of the appeals process following convictions in the Magistrates’ Court and the Crown Court.

Conviction

An offender who disagrees with the verdict handed down in court and wishes to lodge an appeal, has a number of grounds available, including:

  • error on behalf of the Trial Judge,
  • prosecutorial misconduct during the course of the Trial,
  • matters which prevented the offender receiving a fair trial leading to verdict which may be unsafe.

Sentence

An offender may appeal against Sentence, where they are found guilty following a Trial or where a ‘Guilty Plea’ was tendered to the court.

Generally, it will be alleged that the Sentence passed was ‘manifestly excessive’ having regard to the recommendations set out within official Sentencing Guidelines. These guidelines, which courts have to take into consideration, were implemented to provide consistency of sentences across England and Wales.

Appeal Procedure

Appeals from a Magistrates’ Court to the Crown Court

There is an automatic right of appeal to the Crown Court from a Magistrates’ court which must be lodged within twenty-one days of conviction, failing which it will fall ‘out of time’ and will only be allowed if exceptional circumstances exist.

In an appeal against conviction, the defendant has a fresh trial before a Crown Court Judge and two Magistrates.

In an appeal against sentence, a Crown Court Judge and two Magistrates reconsider the defendant’s sentence and can pass one which is either more or less severe.

Appeals from the Crown Court to the Court of Appeal

Where a defendant pleaded not guilty, there is the right to apply for leave to appeal against both conviction and sentence. Where a plea of guilty was entered, there is still the right to appeal in respect of conviction and sentence, but it is unlikely that leave will be granted to appeal against the conviction.

To appeal a conviction by the Crown Court, leave to appeal must be requested within twenty- eight days of conviction. An appeal against a sentence must be commenced within twenty-eight days of sentence.

Appeals against both conviction and sentence require two separate appeals which will, normally, involve two separate deadlines. A Single Judge or the Full Court may grant an extension of time if, for example, a barrister’s opinion commenting upon the proposed appeal, is awaited.

Once a completed Application, and all accompanying documents, have been examined and considered satisfactory by court staff, it will be sent to a Single Judge who will decide whether to grant leave to Appeal. If leave is granted, the application will be listed as an Appeal to be heard before three Judges of the Court of Appeal.

Should the Single Judge refuse the Application and it is still wished to proceed, then Notice must be given within fourteen days of such intent.

How Can Kangs Assist?

Appealing a criminal conviction and/or Sentence passed by any court is a complex process requiring detailed understanding of the legal framework and strict adherence to stringent time limits.

To prevent abuse of the system, the Court of Appeal is entitled to issue a ‘loss of time order.’
This Order stipulates that, if the Court decides that good grounds for appeal have not been shown and its time has been wasted, some or all the time served in custody while waiting for leave to appeal does not count towards sentence. This represents an enormous deterrence to lodging an unfounded Appeal.

The Team at KANGS is very experienced in advising and directing clients to ensure that they do not abuse the system and incur an undesirable penalty. If we can be of assistance, our Team would be delighted to hear from you, simply call or email us using the contact information below:

Tel:       0333 370 4333

Email: info@kangssolicitors.co.uk

We provide an initial no obligation consultation from our offices in London, Birmingham, and Manchester. Alternatively, we provide initial consultations by telephone or video.

Helen Holder

Helen Holder
Partner

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Sukhdip Randhawa

Sukhdip Randhawa
Legal Director

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