Conducting a Criminal Appeal

Conducting a Criminal Appeal

Sometimes, things do not go the way you had hoped they would in a criminal trial. You may be wanting another set of eyes to take a look at your case, which means that you may be considering an appeal. Read on to learn the basics of the criminal appeal process in Canada.

What is an Appeal?

In Canada, any person convicted of a crime may apply to have their conviction reviewed. Several courts can deal with a criminal appeal, depending on the nature of that appeal, however for more serious offences like murder, appeals are brought to the Court of Appeal for Ontario, which normally sits at Osgoode Hall in Toronto. An appellant is the party who starts an appeal, and a respondent is the other party.

How does the Appeal Process work?

The trial judge will look at the trial to see if there were any significant errors. They may also look at the events of the trial and consider whether the evidence presented was sufficient to convict the defendant.

The appeal of a sentence: If the defendant wishes to have their sentence appealed, the appeal court will consider whether the sentence is appropriate, considering different sentencing principals such as:

  • The nature of the crime
  • The impacts of the crime on the victim
  • The background of the offender
  • The sentences imposed in similar cases3

When to Appeal?

If you are convicted or acquitted, you have thirty days to appeal the sentence.

What kinds of decisions can an appeal court make?

1. When the evidence supports a conviction and there are no significant errors by the judge, an appeal can be dismissed.

2. If a trial isn’t fair or legal, the court can order another one.

3. The appeal court can alter an acquittal and find the offender guilty.

4. Acquittal is the result of not being able to find enough evidence to convict someone.

5. Varying a sentence: the appeal court may change a sentence by increasing or lowering a sentence, or removing or add penalties.

What Documents Required?

Except in an inmate appeal (the appeal of someone currently in jail or prison), certain important documents need to be filed with the court:

  • An appeal book containing documents pertaining to the appeal
  • A factum outlining the arguments for appeal.
  • The complete transcript from the previous trial


The Hearing

Anyone can attend appeal hearings, including any victims and their families. An offender who is in custody does not usually attend their appeal. However, in the case of an inmate appeal, the offender usually attends and argues his/her appeal independently. The hearing does not consider new evidence unless it is particularly significant.

For more information on criminal appeals, you can contact one of our specialized criminal lawyers. You can reach our office at 905-366-0202 or contact us through our website here.

We highly discourage anyone from seeking out legal advice through this article. This article only provides general information and should you have any further questions regarding the Conducting a Criminal Appeal, please contact us to book a free initial consultation.

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