The Local Court is the lowest court. Under its criminal jurisdiction, it deals with summary (more minor and common) offences and certain indictable (more serious) offences that can be tried summarily. Generally you need to show that the lower court committed an error, including imposing a sentence that was manifestly lenient or excessive.
An offender may appeal as of right to the District Court against a sentence imposed in the Local Court. A sentence appeal to the District Court from the Local Court is a rehearing of the case.
This means that the judicial officer hearing the sentencing appeal will reconsider all of the evidence presented in the initial sentencing hearing. The judicial officer will usually undertake this task by reading all documents tendered at the Local Court hearing. The defence might also call witnesses to provide further evidence as to why the sentence is too harsh. The defence and prosecution will then make (usually oral) submissions.
The Crown (DPP) can also appeal against a sentence on the grounds that it is inadequate or too lenient.
Appeals to the Supreme Court of NSW
An offender can appeal directly to the Supreme Court against such a sentence only on a question of law.
An offender sentenced in the District or Supreme Court may seek leave (permission) to appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeal to have the sentence reduced. An appeal will only be successful if the sentencing judge is found to have committed a legal error, including imposing a sentence that was manifestly lenient or excessive.
In very special circumstances, an appellant might be able to seek leave (permission) to appeal to the High Court against the severity of a sentence. This is the highest court in Australia.
In any instance, the person who took an appean may have bail continued or granted while waiting for the appeal even if they were given a prison sentence.
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Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.