If your client has been convicted of an offence by the Magistrates’ Court in a criminal proceeding, they may appeal to the County Court against the conviction and sentence or the sentence alone (s 254 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (Vic) (CPA)). You should contact the Homeless Law lawyers to discuss your client’s options before making a decision to appeal to the County Court since it may result in a harsher sentence against your client.
An appeal is commenced by filing a notice of appeal with a registrar of the Magistrates’ Court within 28 days after the day on which the sentence of the Magistrates’ Court is imposed (s 255 of the CPA) or a longer period if leave is applied for and granted. A notice of appeal must also be served on the respondent within 7 days after filing the notice.
A notice of appeal must:
state whether the appeal is against conviction and sentence, or sentence alone; and
be in the form prescribed by the rules of the County Court.
An appeal is conducted as a rehearing and your client is not bound by the plea entered in the Magistrates’ Court (s 256 of the CPA).
On the hearing of an appeal, the County Court:
must set aside the sentence of the Magistrates’ Court; and
may impose any sentence which the County Court considers appropriate and which the Magistrates’ Court imposed or could have imposed; and
may exercise any power which the Magistrates’ Court exercised or could have exercised (s 256 of the CPA).
Appeal the decision to the Supreme Court
Your client has the right to appeal a final order of a Magistrate to the Supreme Court on a question of law (s 272 of the CPA). You should contact the Homeless Law lawyers to discuss your client’s options before making a decision to appeal to the Supreme Court.
An appeal is commenced by filing a notice of appeal in accordance with the rules of the Supreme Court within 28 days after the day on which the order was made. A copy of the notice of appeal must be served within 7 days after the notice has been filed.
If the order was made more than 28 days ago, the Supreme Court may grant leave to your client to appeal if the Supreme Court believes that the failure to commence the appeal in time was due to exceptional circumstances and no other party to the appeal would be materially prejudiced because of the delay.
After hearing and determining the appeal, the Supreme Court may make any order that it thinks appropriate, including an order remitting the case for rehearing to the Magistrates’ Court with or without any direction in law.
If a person appeals to the Supreme Court on a question of law, that person abandons finally and conclusively any right under the CPA or any other Act to appeal to the County Court in relation to that proceeding.