Criminal Appeal Lawyers in Ottawa

Ottawa Court of AppealsAn appeal lawyer can provide a second chance if you have been convicted of a crime in Ottawa.

There are two possible elements of a criminal conviction that can be appealed: the guilty verdict itself or the sentence passed down by the judge.

To be successful, you need sound legal advice and the assistance of a lawyer who is well-versed in the workings of the appeal court in Ontario.

The appeal lawyers at Friedman Mansour LLP provide affordable legal assistance to appeal your verdict or sentence if mistakes made during your trial negatively affected the outcome for you.

What is the role of the Court of Appeal for Ontario?

If your case is processed through the legal system in Ontario, the Court of Appeal is effectively your last chance to secure an acquittal or a reduced sentence.

In this court, a panel of senior judges will have the final say on:

  • The correctness of acquittals
  • The correctness of convictions and 
  • The fitness of sentences

This panel makes the final decisions on over 1,000 appeals and 1,000 motions every year. These relate to both criminal and civil cases originally heard in Ontario’s two trial courts, the Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Justice.

The appeals that we focus on at Friedman Mansour relate to criminal cases based on the Canadian Criminal Code or the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Will my appeal be held in Ottawa?

There are two possible locations for your appeal to be heard, depending on whether you were prosecuted according to a summary conviction or an indictment.

For summary convictions at trials in Ottawa, the Summary Conviction Appeals Court in Ottawa will hear your appeal.

For indictments, which carry more severe penalties, the Court of Appeal for Ontario located in Toronto will hear your appeal. This court also hears appeals against judgments made in the Summary Conviction Appeals Court.

In very rare cases, we represent clients who are appealing against the Court of Appeal ruling, which is heard in the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa.

Will the same judge hear my appeal?

No. If your trial proceeded at the standard Ottawa court, as in the majority of cases we handle, your appeal will be heard by a panel of judges from a higher court rather than the same judge who sentenced you.

The original judge will not be consulted during this process, and a small panel of three (or occasionally five) judges will make the decision.

Who can appeal a verdict or sentence?

You must have reasonable grounds for an appeal in order for your case to proceed to the Court of Appeal.

Just because you do not agree with the verdict or the sentence handed down by a judge does not give you the right to appeal. 

You must be able to show that:

  • The judge has erred in the application of the law, or
  • The judge has misapprehended the facts of the case, or
  • Both of the above

Depending on the details of your trial, conviction and sentence, you can make an appeal on two main grounds: a conviction appeal or a sentence appeal.

It is worth noting here that, with appeals, you will not play an active role in the legal processes.  You will not be called on to provide testimony and, instead, you will need to be a patient observer. 

Your appeal lawyer from Friedman Mansour will handle the appeal process from start to finish and the judges will make their final decision based on evidence submitted.

When would you lodge a conviction appeal?

You would normally lodge a conviction appeal if you and your lawyer have reason to believe that you were wrongly found guilty of a criminal charge.

When would you lodge a sentence appeal?

You would lodge a sentence appeal if you and your lawyer believe that the sentence you received for your criminal conviction was excessive.

When would you lodge a summary conviction appeal?

Summary conviction appeals are the most common types of appeal. They are usually held in the local court where the offence occurred – in this case, the Summary Conviction Appeals Court in Ottawa.

You would lodge such an appeal if you have reason to believe that the decision handed down in a trial that proceeded as a summary conviction was incorrect. 

What happens if your appeal is successful?

If your appeal lawyer is successful, there are several possible outcomes:

  1. A retrial is ordered with a different judge – usually due to a legal error being made or the original trial being deemed as unfair. 
  2. Charges against you are withdrawn – if the judges decide that it is not in the public interest to prosecute you again, all charges may be withdrawn.
  3. Acquittal – resulting in your immediate release from custody without a criminal record (very rare).
  4. Your sentence is revised – this could mean a shorter jail term or your sentence being served in the community.

Get help from experienced appeal lawyers

You have 30 days after your trial ends to serve and file a Notice of Appeal, so there is no time to waste.

An appeal lawyer from Friedman Mansour can help you appeal your conviction or sentence. Contact us for a free consultation.

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