An appeal is not an opportunity to challenge the decision of the jury or judge. You might believe that the jury or judge should have reached a different verdict. You could be right but the quickest way to lose any appeal is to argue that the trial reached a wrongful verdict.
An appeal is simply a challenge to specific legal decisions made by a lower court. It is almost always the defendant’s role to establish that errors occurred in the lower courts. Seasoned appeals defence barristers can help in making this process easier.
When appealing a conviction, claims of legal error may include:
1. Suppression of a Statement: If the trial judge denied a motion suppressing a statement made to police, this claim can be subject to review on appeal.
2. Suppression of Evidence: An appeals court can review the ruling if you litigated a motion to suppress any evidence that the trial judge denied.
3. Sufficiency of Evidence: It is a claim that the prosecution never proved a particular issue necessary for conviction. For instance, if you are facing charges of possession of drugs with the intention to deliver but the prosecution only proved that you had drugs in your possession, you could argue on appeal that the evidence provided was insufficient.
4. Claims of Misconduct by the Prosecution: The responsibility of the prosecution is seeking justice and not get a conviction through any means. Rules exist to oversee the conduct of the prosecution both prior to and during the trial, and if those rules are broken, appeals may be available.
5. Improper Evidentiary Rulings: Prior decisions by appeals courts and the rules of evidence determine whether evidence can actually be introduced in court. The decisions and rules specify when as well as under which circumstances the evidence is admissible. Challenges to rulings pertaining to evidence are common on appeal.
6. Excessive Sentence: While the lower courts have a wide discretion when determining sentences, they don’t have total discretion. Particular factors need to be considered before a sentence is passed and cannot be passed solely on the basis of the crime committed.
The claims discussed in this article are just examples of the types of claims that you can raise on appeal. It is impossible to make a complete list of claims. If your claim is successful on appeal, the kind of relief available will depend on the claim. If you have been convicted of a crime, consider hiring an appeals defence barristerto help you determine the right type of claim or claims to file for your appeal.