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Criminal Justice Changes: Appeal Processes

[Full release with charts: Fact_sheet_7__appeals_processes.pdf]


What is the general proposal?

To tailor appeal processes to reflect the wider changes to criminal procedure.

Why change the law?

• At present there are separate appeal processes for summary (judge-alone) and indictable (jury) cases.

• In light of changes that are being made to other parts of trial procedure, it is necessary to modify the current appeal structure.


• The distinction between summary and indictable appeal processes will be removed, including:

o Standardising time periods for appeals (20 working days in most cases) and rules about extension of time.

o Providing that leave for an appeal, where required, should normally be sought from the court appealed to.

o Providing that appeals against conviction, sentence, and on questions of law would be determined in a similar way for judge-alone and jury trial cases.

o Addressing any obvious gaps in existing appeal rights.

• With some minor modifications, the central role of the Court of Appeal will be retained, and in particular its oversight of jury trial cases whether these are heard in the District Court or High Court.

• Sentence-only appeals, where the defendant has elected jury trial but pleaded guilty before trial, will be heard by the High Court if the sentence is five years’ imprisonment or less. This is to prevent the Court of Appeal becoming over- burdened with minor sentence appeals.

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• A new procedure will allow the Solicitor-General to refer questions of law arising in criminal cases to the Court of Appeal, and to the Supreme Court (regardless of the trial outcome). This would allow any significant questions of law to be addressed by the appeal court, but would not affect the outcome of the individual case.

A comparison between the old and proposed new structure is set out below...

[Full release with charts: Fact_sheet_7__appeals_processes.pdf]


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