The District Court deals with appeals from the Local Court against sentences, such as the length of imprisonment and severity, and appeals against conviction.
Usually matters in the District Court will be determined by a single Judge.
A Magistrate who convicts you in the Local Court may be the subject of an appeal to the District Court. An appeal may be commenced both in relation to the final judgment of the Magistrate and any order made by the Magistrate during the proceedings.
You do not have the right to appeal a conviction if you were absent when the case was heard, or if you pleaded guilty.
The District Court Judge who hears your appeal will not start the case from scratch – they will be going off the transcript of the original case, heard before the Local Court Judge.
In a conviction appeal, it is necessary for you to show some error by the Magistrate. If you wish to bring fresh evidence you will need the leave of the court. Once an error is established, the Judge can make any order that the Magistrate could have made including upholding the appeal or dismissing the appeal.
If, after being found guilty or pleading guilty you believe the sentence that was imposed was too severe/excessive, you may make an application for a severity appeal to be listed before the District Court of NSW. The District Court Judge will reassess the sentence imposed by a Magistrate.
In a severity appeal, the Judge may also hear evidence from you in person, as well as submissions made by both the representatives from the DPP and on your behalf.
If you received a sentence of imprisonment, including home detention, you may apply to be released on bail until you appear at the District Court. You can make an application for bail at the Local Court on the same date as you are sentenced and lodge your appeal or you can make it later at the gaol.
An appeal against the decision of a Magistrate in Local Court criminal proceedings must be commenced within 28 days of that decision. The appeal is then statute-barred which means that after 3 months you will need to show there are special circumstances to allow an appeal to be made. Leave to appeal after three months will only be granted if it would prevent a ‘substantial injustice’ from occurring.
In a severity appeal, you must show either an exceptional circumstance or other reason the penalty was too severe.
An appeal is commenced by the appellant (convicted or sentenced person) filing and serving a notice of appeal.
Conviction and Severity appeals are not inexpensive. There is a filing/hearing fee for an individual to commence the appeal plus legal costs. To discuss your options book a free consultation with Rep-Revive Criminal Lawyers®.
The principal Act that govern criminal appeals in NSW is the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act 2001 (NSW) (CARA).
At Rep-Revive Criminal Lawyers® we also represent clients in Licence and other Appeals including Disqualified Driver Applications, Habitual traffic offenders appeals and Licence appeals – P Plate suspensions and Speeding suspensions.
If you have a matter wherein you have been convicted in the Local Court and would like to appeal contact our Team at Rep-Revive Criminal Lawyers®. We are well versed and specialists in obtaining favourable outcomes.