Court of Criminal Appeal (CCA)

Lawyers NSW

Court of Criminal Appeal (CCA) Lawyers

The Court of Criminal Appeal (CCA) is the highest court in NSW, and it deals with Criminal Appeals of decisions made in the District and Supreme Courts under the authority of the Criminal Appeal Act 1912. If a person is unsuccessful with their appeal in the CCA, they can then appeal to the High Court of Australia.

It is important to note that the CCA deals with cases that are considered to have had an error of law by the rights of the citizen. If there is new evidence or facts that have come to light in a particular case, then leave will need to be obtained for the matter to be heard.

If an appeal against a conviction is successful, the CCA can set aside the conviction from the original trial and order a re-trial, or enter a verdict of not guilty, and have that person acquitted of the charge.

If an appeal against a conviction is unsuccessful, you will not have to pay the prosecution’s costs of the appeal, as the CCA has no power to make a costs order for unsuccessful appeals against sentence or conviction.

Some of the most common types of appeals that are heard in the CCA can include:

  • Where an error of law has been committed in relation to the severity of a sentence

  • Where an error of law has been made in respect of a finding of guilty of an accused, usually due to

  1. the admission of the evidence

  2. the behaviour of the Judge or Crown

  3. the direction of the Judge to the jury

  • Where an error of law has been made in relation to the acquittal of a person, and this is brought about by the Crown, who will then seek to re-trial the accused.

 

How to apply to the CCA

You must file a Notice of Intention to Appeal within 28 days from the date of the sentence. If this is not filed within the timeframe, the Court can have a bit leeway to appeal with a Notice of Application for Extension of Time for Notice of Intention to Appeal.

After lodging the Notice of Intention of Appeal, you must lodge a Notice of Appeal within 6 months of filing the Notice of Intention to Appeal.

Along with your Notice of Appeal, you must attach the following three documents:

  1. A Certificate under rule 23C of the Criminal Appeal Rules. This certificate acknowledges that the transcripts and exhibits can be accessed from the District or Supreme Courts.

  2. A document outlining the Grounds of Appeal

  3. A document outlining the reasoning behind the Grounds of Appeal and why they apply to this particular case using relevant case law

 

How do I know if my Appeal has any Merit?

 

There are certain common grounds on which an appeal to the CCA can be formulated successfully:

A.    Fresh Evidence

 

The CCA does not usually allow the introduction of fresh evidence that was not given at trial or the sentence proceedings, if the person or their Counsel were aware of the evidence at that time. In these set of circumstances, the CCA would only allow crucial evidence, if had it not been allowed to be admitted, there would be a miscarriage of justice.

B.     Identification Evidence

 

In trials where a main issue is the identification of the accused by a witness from the Prosecution, the directions of the Judge to jury are very important, and a lack of addressing the problems with such evidence can be a good argument for why an appeal should be upheld. If the Prosecution evidence is only offered by a single witness, there are numerous issues that need to be addressed in relation to the reliability of that witness and their evidence. Such issues include:

  • The Prosecution witness age

  • The physical distance between the Prosecution witness and the accused

  • The influence of drugs and alcohol at the time of the identification

  • The lighting at the scene at the time of the alleged recognition

  • The number of words spoken, and the distinguishing features of each of the words

  • The duration of time for which the Prosecution witness was able to identify the person, visually or through audio

 

There needs to be a special caution given by the Judge to the Jury regarding accepting the identification of the accused, the dangers and problematic features need to be explained clearly to the jury. Failure by the Trial Judge to caution and explain these matters to a Jury can amount to a miscarriage of justice, and a new trial may be ordered by the CCA.

C.    Incompetent Services of Defence Counsel

Although rare, there are times when you may consider that the Defence Counsel did not present your case to the utmost in the District or Supreme Court trial, or perhaps did not address certain aspects that were deemed important, and as a result of miscarriage of justice has been committed.

If such incompetence is considered to be of such extent that the defendant at the time was denied the chance for an acquittal, then the CCA may uphold the appeal.

D.    Insufficient Directions to the Jury by the Trial Judge

 

When both the Prosecution and Defence have concluded their evidence, and all their witnesses have finished, the Trial Judge delivers a concluding statement or “summing-up” in which He or She provide directions to the Jury to assist in their deliberations, as to how the law applies to the evidence in the case. If these directions are considered to be insufficient, misguided in their accuracy or biased and unfair to the accused, a conviction appeal may be successful in the CCA.

If you or a loved one are in the process of lodging an Appeal to the CCA, contact our expert Defence CCA Lawyers at Lawyer Call today to help you prepare the Notice of Appeal in the proper format with the rights documentation and cases in support of your application

 

 

 

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