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Appealing a criminal conviction – Understanding the process and grounds for appeal

Being convicted of a criminal offence can be a life-changing event, affecting not only the individual who has been found guilty but also their family and loved ones.

However, just because someone has been convicted of a crime, it does not mean that their case is closed.

There is a system of appeal in the English court system that allows individuals who have been convicted of a crime to challenge their conviction or sentence.

The appeal process

This process can be complex and is governed by strict time limits and procedures.

First, an appeal is made to the Crown Court, which is the court that originally heard the case. This is known as an application for leave to appeal.

The individual who is appealing must show that there is a real possibility that the conviction or sentence was wrong and that it would be in the interests of justice for the appeal to be heard.

If leave to appeal is granted, the appeal will be heard in a higher court, which is usually the Court of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal will consider whether the conviction or sentence was wrong and whether there was a procedural error that could have affected the outcome of the case.

If the Court of Appeal finds that the conviction or sentence was wrong, they may quash the conviction or sentence, order a retrial, or reduce the sentence.

Grounds for Appeal

To appeal a criminal conviction or sentence, there must be grounds for appeal.

There are several grounds for appeal that can be used to challenge a conviction or sentence. These include:

  • Procedural errors – This includes errors made by the court during the trial, such as allowing inadmissible evidence, misdirection’s to the jury, or failure to disclose important evidence.
  • New evidence – If new evidence comes to light after the trial that could have affected the outcome of the case, an appeal can be made.
  • Insufficient evidence – If there was insufficient evidence to support the conviction, an appeal can be made.
  • Wrongful conviction – If there is evidence that the defendant was wrongfully convicted, an appeal can be made.
  • Excessive sentence – If the sentence imposed by the court is excessively harsh, an appeal can be made.

It is important to note that the grounds for appeal must be supported by evidence, and the individual appealing must be able to show that there is a real possibility that the conviction or sentence was wrong.

Have you been accused of committing a crime? We help clients through all stages of the criminal justice process. For advice and representation, get in touch with our expert team today.

Mandeep Sehmi

Solicitor – Criminal Department

I am also a fully Accredited Police Station Representative, an Accredited Duty Solicitor and a Member of the Criminal Litigation Accreditation Scheme (CLAS).