For instance you have been charged under an indictment; you have been tried; a jury has found you guilty of the crime charged against you; and the District or Supreme Court has imposed a penalty against you.
What should you do?
If you admit that justice had been done – that is, the evidence against you was sufficient to prove your guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; the jury convicted you solely on the basis of the evidence and without prejudice; and the penalty imposed upon you by the Court is commensurate to the offense charged—you need to do nothing. But if you can raise a valid issue on these three matters, you may have grounds for an appeal.
What do you need to know?
An appeal by right means that the criminal code or the code of procedure guarantees you the right to appeal the verdict or sentence against you. If the criminal code or the code of procedure does not specifically allow you the right to appeal, then you must ask the Court that convicted you for permission to appeal the verdict against you or the sentence imposed upon you.
For example, when a Magistrate’s Court has denied your appeal of a notice of infringement for drink driving, the Magistrate’s Court’s decision or order is final. You do not have the right to appeal the Magistrate’s Court’s verdict or sentence. However, if you are clever and you can find a novel issue of law that has not yet been passed upon by the courts, you can ask the Magistrate’s Court to allow you to appeal to the District Court. This is an appeal by leave of court.
Where you file an appeal depends upon which court in Queensland convicted you. If you were convicted by a District Court, then you can appeal the conviction to the Supreme Court. If it is the Supreme Court that convicted you, then you can appeal to the High Court of Queensland. An appeal must be lodged in a court that is of a higher jurisdiction than that court that convicted you.
If the appeal is a matter of right, then the appellate court will pass upon and review both the facts and the law of your case. If the appeal is a matter of leave, then the appellate court will only pass and review matters of law. Generally, no additional evidence can be presented for the first time on appeal. Evidence can be presented upon appeal if it is newly discovered evidence.
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.