Appeals in Criminal Cases
If you have been found guilty of one or more criminal offences, you have a right to appeal your conviction. You may also seek leave to appeal the sentence imposed. In general, you must commence your appeal within 30 days of your sentence being imposed. Depending on the nature of the charge and the manner in which the case was prosecuted, your appeal will be heard either by a judge of the Superior Court of Justice or by a panel of judges at the Court of Appeal for Ontario.
It is important to remember that an appeal is not an opportunity to simply re-argue issues that were determined at trial. Successful appeals usually require counsel to establish that there was an error of law at trial that may have affected the outcome or a procedural irregularity that resulted in prejudice or unfairness. In some cases, appellate courts will receive new evidence that was not heard at trial, where it is in the interests of justice to do so. If your appeal is successful, an appellate court may enter an acquittal, order a new trial, or reduce the sentence.
If your case is legally-aided, either your trial lawyer or your appeal lawyer must prepare an opinion letter to Legal Aid Ontario setting out the strength of the proposed grounds of appeal. One of Legal Aid Ontario’s Area Committees will then determine whether to authorize a legal aid certificate to cover the appeal.
As an experienced appellate lawyer, Peter will be able to assist you in determining whether your case may have potential grounds on which to appeal.
Summary Conviction Appeals
If you have been found guilty of a summary conviction offence, your appeal will be heard by a judge of the Superior Court of Justice in the region where your trial took place.
If you have been found guilty of an indictable offence, your appeal will be heard by a panel of judges at the Court of Appeal for Ontario.
Appeals to the Supreme Court of Canada
If your appeal to the Court of Appeal has been dismissed, you may seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. Leave to appeal is usually only granted in cases that raise an issue of public or national importance. You may, however, appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada as of right if a judge at the Court of Appeal dissented on a question of law.
Information provided on this website is not intended as legal advice.