Appeals

Whether appealing conviction or sentence, Sonn Macmillan Walker will pursue the right result for your case. 

At Sonn Macmillan Walker we regularly assist in appeals against convictions or sentences.  If we have acted for an individual during their Court proceedings, we will advise on all aspects any potential appeal. If an individual had representation from another firm, we are happy to assist on a competitive private-paying basis.

We appreciate how difficult it can be for an individual if they feel they have been wrongly convicted, or if the sentence received was harsher than expected.  There are different tests and procedures to consider depending on whether a case has been heard in the magistrates' court or Crown Court. 

Magistrates' Court Appeals

The timescale for appealing to the Crown Court against a conviction or sentence in the magistrates' court is 15 business days from the date of the relevant decision. There is an automatic right to appeal a conviction or sentence from the magistrates' court to the Crown Court.  

An individual can appeal against a conviction if they feel the District Judge or magistrates reached the wrong verdict, for example, if they feel certain unhelpful evidence was wrongly admitted or if they have new evidence they wish to call.  

At the Crown Court the trial will be heard completely afresh before a Judge and two laypeople.

To advise in respect of the prospects of any potential appeal against a sentencing decision we will carefully consider the circumstances of the offence, personal circumstances of our client, any credit or discount in sentence they were lawfully entitled to receive, and the appropriate sentencing guidelines.  

Appealing a sentence imposed by the magistrates' court to the Crown Court must be very carefully considered as the Crown Court can, if the appeal is unsuccessful, increase the sentence previously imposed and order additional costs.

Crown Court Appeals

An appeal to the Court of Appeal Criminal Division (CACD) against a conviction or sentence in the Crown Court must be lodged within 28 calendar days of the relevant decision.  

To appeal against a conviction, there must be grounds to suggest that it is arguable the conviction was unsafe. We will be looking for any legal errors that occurred during the trial.  

To appeal against sentence, it must be arguable that the sentence was wrong in law or manifestly excessive in length.

An appeal is originally considered by a CACD Single Judge on the papers submitted.  This is a filtering mechanism to weed out unmeritorious appeals. The Single Judge can grant leave for an appeal to be considered by the full Court when oral submissions will be made.  

If the Single Judge refuses an application for appeal, it can be renewed for oral submissions to be made before the full Court in any event.  The Single Judge’s decision may be a good indication of the likely decision of the full Court, but not always.  We will always carefully consider and advise whether applications refused by the Single Judge should be renewed.  An application to renew must be made within 14 days of the Single Judge’s decision.

If an appeal is progress where permission has been refused, the full Court can make a 'loss of time' order meaning some or all of the time spent in custody awaiting the appeal will not count towards a sentence.

If we did not act for you during the original proceedings, to advise on appeal we will look to obtain your previous solicitors file; we may need to obtain transcripts of the proceedings, and potentially obtain further defence evidence from civilian witnesses or experts. We will instruct Counsel at the appropriate stage to provide written advice and always ensure any potential appellant has realistic advice regarding their prospects of success. 

Notable Cases

Our recent cases in this area.

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