SPECIALIST CRIMINAL APPEAL SOLICITORS
Is a member of your family serving a prison sentence for a crime they did not commit?
Were you let down by a Legal Aid Lawyer?
Are you looking for a criminal appeals solicitor?
Our criminal Justice system used to be the envy of the world. Over time defendant’s protection has been reduced and mistakes are being made. Legal Aid solicitors are under pressure from all angles and often are not able to provide the service required to fight for someones innocence.
As a leading firm of Criminal Appeals Solicitors we see a lot of people who come to us after their first, disappointing, experience of the criminal justice system. They feel strongly that no one listened to them, no one gave them a chance to speak up for their relative and now they are left to try and pick up the pieces.
If your relative is in prison for a crime they did not commit you will want to know you have done everything you can to get them out. You may want a second opinion just to put your mind at ease. You will want a criminal appeal solicitor who understands how important this is to you. You want to feel they are taking it seriously not just going through the process. You may have been advised by the barrister who conducted the case that there are no grounds for appeal, but you may still want someone independent to review the case fully.
If you or your relative has been found guilty in the magistrates court then you have an automatic right of appeal. If you just feel that the result was unfair then you can have another go and make sure you, or they, are properly defended this time.
If you or your relative has been convicted in the Crown Court then you will need to show that there was an error or you will need to find new evidence.
HOW DOES THE CRIMINAL APPEAL PROCESS WORK?
If you were represented at court your lawyer should have provided you with an advice on appeal. Often this doesn’t happen or it is not a positive advice. If you have received an advice on appeal and been told there are no grounds for appeal this is not the end of the matter. You are still entitled to go elsewhere to appeal it.
The first stage of any appeal is to complete a notice of appeal together with the grounds of appeal. The form used is called Form NG. This is served on the Registrar of Criminal Appeals. It can be served by post or by email.
Before any appeal solicitor can lodge a notice of appeal they will need to see all of the paperwork in the original case. If this is a recent case then it will be held on a digital system. If it is an old case then we will need to obtain the original paper copies of the file.
Once the Notice of Appeal is sent to the court they can send it to the prosecution to ask for their response.
It will then be looked at by a single judge who will decide whether to grant leave to appeal. The single judge can either grant the application for leave to appeal, refuse it or refer it to a full court.
If the single judge refuses leave to appeal you will be notified and can then apply to have the application considered by a court.
If leave to appeal is granted then a hearing will be listed before the Court of Appeal.
The Court of Appeal have a number of options when they hear the case. They can refuse the appeal. They can allow the appeal and order the original court to enter a judgment and order of acquittal (Effectively recording it as a Not Guilty). In cases where there is an alternative offence available the Court of Appeal can substitute an alternative conviction, for example they could order that someone is convicted of Manslaughter instead of Murder. Finally, they can quash the conviction and order a re trial.
DO YOU HAVE GROUNDS OF APPEAL?
The Court of Appeal will only overturn a conviction if they believe the conviction is ‘unsafe’. You cannot simply appeal because you think that the decision was wrong, you have to show that it was unsafe. It is much harder to win an appeal than to win the initial trial. As Criminal Appeal lawyers we are often able to spot things that the original trial lawyers were unable to.
There are various ways to show that the conviction was unsafe. For example, poor representation at the trial, mistakes or misconduct of the trial judge, Jury Irregularities, bias, inconsistent verdicts, disclosure issues. The most common basis is fresh evidence.
We will look at your case from the beginning and go through it carefully to see whether there are any grounds of appeal. This will involve not just obtaining the original papers but also a transcript of the summing up.
CRIMINAL APPEAL TIME LIMITS.
All appeals have to be lodged within 28 days of the conviction. You will often hear people appealing many years after the conviction. This is because the Court of Appeal can extend the time limits if they think it is appropriate. The Court of Appeal are more concerned with the strength of the case than time limits. That does not mean that you do not have to take any action quickly. The court will expect you to explain any delays and will only grant an extension of time if they are satisfied you have acted as quickly as you could. It is therefore important to contact us as soon as possible.
CAN I GET BAIL PENDING APPEAL?
The Court of Appeal can grant bail pending appeal. This is unusual and will normally only happen when the court believe that on the face of the papers the appeal is likely to succeed, in other words it is a very strong case, or if there is a risk the sentence will be served before the appeal is heard. In cases of short sentence the Court of Appeal prefer to hear the case quickly rather than grant bail.
IS THERE ANY RISK IN APPEALING?
If the Court of Appeal refuse the application, you will have been warned previously that there may be a ‘loss of time served order’ made. This means that anytime you have served in prison so far will not count towards your final sentence. It is for this reason that we will give you full and honest advice about the strength of your case.
HOW WE WORK
We are specialist Criminal Appeals Solicitors dedicated to providing the right solution for you. We don’t do Legal Aid. We dedicate our time to helping people for whom the matter is so important that they want to go private.
We understand how important this is to you and your family. We will work with you and our team of expert barristers to ensure that everything possible is done to get justice for you and your family.
We will meet with you to get your side of the story, we will then obtain the papers and review them to see whether there were any errors. We will then look to see whether there is any additional evidence we can put on your behalf to get the matter re heard. This may involve finding new witnesses or tracking down evidence that was not previously available.
We work with a team of investigators, they are all ex senior police officers with many years experience covering all areas. If we need to find new evidence we will work with out team to find the evidence that may have been missed last time.
Time is of the essence for criminal appeals, so contact us today.