Can be made either against the conviction or against the sentence

– The prosecution can appeal against the leniency of the sentence but generally cannot appeal against an acquittal

– The process is important as it allows higher courts to supervise the discretion of magistrates and judges when they are making sentencing decision.

– R v Jurisic (1998)

  • Appeals are technical questions of law not heard by a jury.
  • Defendants can appeal on the grounds of:
    • An error of law (for example, false evidence, perjury in the trial, tainted evidence)
    • The sentence/punishment was too severe
  • The prosecution has no right to appeal an acquittal but can appeal on the basis that a sentence is not harsh enough.
  • The Crimes (Appeal and Review) Amendment Act 2006 (NSW) was made to change that in the case of a very serious crime, an acquittal can be quashed if there is fresh evidence or the acquittal was tainted.
  • The appeal court considers:
    • If the court had the power to impose the particular sentence
    • Any errors of fact or law in imposing the sentence
  • The appeal court will only interfere if there has been a clear error, such as:
    • Considering irrelevant facts
    • Not considering relevant facts
    • Incorrectly directing the jury

Extract from Legal Studies Stage 6 Syllabus. © 2009 Board of Studies NSW.