Appealing a conviction or sentence from the Magistrates Court to the Crown Court
Decisions of the Magistrates Court in criminal matters,are appeal-able as of right and no permission is required. Provided that the notice of appeal is received within 21 days of the decision being made, that is sufficient.
There are some misconceptions about the way the Crown Court hear an appeal. There is no jury. The Crown Court judge will sit with two lay-magistrates. These magistrates will have had no previous dealings with the case.
The hearing is in effect a complete restart of the case that was heard in the Magistrates Court. In the latin, it is a 'de novo' hearing. If new evidence has come to light, this can be presented. If a witness has come forward since the original trial, they can give evidence. If appropriate, new legal arguments can be presented.
This is not to say that it is always a good idea to appeal. Were the appeal to fail, the Crown Court could then impose any sentence that was available to the Magistrates who heard the original case. The sentence can be upped, although it is fairly unusual for this to happen.
In cases where new evidence comes to light, or a point of law was not explored that should have been, the prosecution may decide not to contest the appeal.
We are happy to advise on the merits of appealing your case. It may be that you feel that your advocate didn't ask vital questions of the witnesses or perhaps that a conviction went against the weight of the evidence. Call now to discuss your case on 01843 799121