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Appealing a Local Court Conviction

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Many individuals seek the assistance of KPT Defence Lawyers when they have faced disappointing outcomes with previous legal representation or have represented themselves in criminal cases, resulting in unfavorable judgments in the Local, District, or Supreme Court. If you have been found guilty of an offence in the Local Court, you have the right to appeal the decision to the District Court. This right is protected under section 11 of the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act 2001. Types of Appeals According to this Act, anyone who has been convicted or sentenced in the Local Court can appeal to the District Court against either the conviction, the sentence, or both.

  • Conviction Appeal: This type of appeal allows you to challenge the verdict if you believe that the Court's decision of your guilt contradicts your belief in your innocence.
  • Severity Appeal: Alternatively, you can contest the severity of the imposed penalty if you consider it to be excessively harsh.
  • All Grounds Appeal: If you choose to challenge both your conviction and your sentence, it is known as an 'all grounds appeal'.
Initiating an Appeal If you decide to appeal your conviction, you can start the process once you have been sentenced. Following the sentencing, the appeal must be lodged within 28 days. Appealing a Local Court conviction provides you with the opportunity to seek a review of the decision and potentially have the conviction overturned or the sentence modified. If you are considering pursuing a conviction appeal, KPT Defence Lawyers is available to provide precise guidance on the likelihood of your success and to offer exceptional legal representation throughout the entire process of appealing your conviction.

Frequently Asked Questions

Click on the options below to learn the answers to frequently asked questions about Appealing a Local Court Conviction.

If you’re considering appealing a conviction, it’s important to understand the process as you transition from the Local Court to the District Court. Here’s a simplified breakdown of the steps involved:

Filing an Appeal within the Timeframe

You have a general window of 28 days after the conclusion of proceedings in the Local Court to initiate a conviction appeal. However, this period can be extended to 3 months under certain valid circumstances, such as illness leading to hospitalisation or obstacles causing a delay.
After filing the appeal, your case will be scheduled for a ‘Mention’ session. This brief court meeting serves to acquire and compile the ‘transcript of the Local Court hearing.’
The term ‘transcript’ refers to the spoken statements made by witnesses during the Local Court proceedings, including the Magistrate’s decision. This comprehensive document can take up to 8 weeks to prepare.
During the District Court hearing, the Judge will review the transcript and assess any ‘exhibits’ presented in the Local Court. These exhibits encompass various materials, such as photographs, maps, police statements, phone records, bank statements, clothing, weapons, and police interviews.

Presenting Arguments and the Judge’s Decision

At the District Court hearing, your lawyer will present their verbal arguments. Subsequently, the Judge will make a pivotal decision:

  • Sustaining the Appeal: This outcome leads to the annulment of the guilty verdict, potentially overturning the conviction.
  • Rejecting the Appeal: If the Judge denies the appeal, the original guilty verdict is affirmed.

Special Scenarios and Additional Evidence

In specific situations, you may request additional evidence even after the Local Court proceedings have concluded. This is possible when new information emerges that could impact the appeal.

‘All Grounds Appeal’ and Sentencing

If you’ve lodged an ‘all grounds appeal,’ encompassing both conviction and sentencing appeals, the Judge retains the authority to impose a more lenient sentence while upholding the guilty verdict. This could involve alternatives like a ‘section 10 dismissal or conditional release order,’ indicating recognition of guilt without a formal criminal conviction.
Understanding these stages as you transition from the Local Court to the District Court for conviction appeals can help you navigate the process more effectively and make informed decisions about your case.

When considering the progression of a conviction appeal from the District Court to the Supreme Court, it’s crucial to be aware of the valid grounds that can prompt this transition. These grounds may include:

  • Instances where the District Court Judge provided misleading instructions or directions to the jury concerning a legal aspect.
  • Situations where the Judge allowed evidence that should have been excluded from consideration.
  • Cases where the Judge rejected evidence that should have been considered.
  • Instances where the jury reached a verdict that lacks substantial evidence.
  • Situations where the inadequacy of the Accused’s legal representation led to a miscarriage of justice.
  • Initiating the appeal process involves submitting a Notice of Intention to Appeal within 28 days of the District Court’s decision.


Subsequently, the next procedural step involves submitting a Notice of Appeal within the following 6 months.

Once the Notice of Appeal is submitted, a court date will be assigned for the case. During this court session, a structured timeline will be established to facilitate the presentation of Grounds of Appeal and Written Submissions.

The foundation for these submissions will be firmly rooted in three key elements: the ‘trial transcript,’ ‘exhibits,’ and pertinent legal statutes.

The term ‘trial transcript’ encompasses the spoken testimonies and judicial decisions made during the District Court trial, providing a comprehensive record of the proceedings.

The term ‘exhibits’ refers to the tangible evidence introduced in court, which may encompass a diverse range of materials such as photographs, maps, police statements, phone records, bank statements, weapons, clothing, police interviews, and various other items.

In the process of crafting the Grounds of Appeal and Written Submissions, our experienced criminal lawyers will meticulously scrutinise the trial transcript and exhibits. They will weigh these elements against relevant case precedents and legislative provisions, ensuring a robust and well-constructed argument.

Ultimately, the appeal will advance to a hearing before the esteemed Justices of the Supreme Court (NSWCCA). During this critical phase, the Justices will conduct a thorough evaluation of all presented materials. They will attentively listen to the verbal arguments put forth and deliberate before rendering a decision regarding the validity of the conviction. This decision will determine whether the conviction is upheld or overturned, marking a pivotal moment in the appeal process.

Australia’s highest court, the High Court, consists of 7 judges referred to as ‘Justices.’
High Court Appeals typically revolve around complex legal queries and doctrines.
Initiating a High Court Appeal requires the initial pursuit of ‘special leave,’ which essentially grants permission to appeal. It’s important to note that the right to appeal is not automatic.
The process of lodging a ‘special leave application’ can be intricate, involving a variety of materials and requiring substantial effort.
Upon approval of the application, a hearing will take place before one or more Justices of the High Court.
The number of Justices involved often depends on the complexity and significance of the legal issues at hand.
The regulations governing High Court Appeals are strict, demanding a high level of seriousness, attentiveness, and diligence in handling the matters.
This field necessitates the guidance of criminal lawyers who possess specialised expertise and extensive experience.
KPT Defence Lawyers boasts a track record of numerous pivotal and successful High Court Appeals over the years.
Our skilled criminal lawyers are duly registered with the High Court and are well-equipped to represent clients in complex criminal cases. If you require assistance or guidance in pursuing a High Court Appeal, feel free to reach out to us for expert support.

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