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Court of Appeal Help Guide > Criminal Matters

Criminal Matters

Both the Provincial Court of Saskatchewan and the Court of Queen’s Bench for Saskatchewan hear criminal cases. The Court of Queen’s Bench generally hears cases involving more serious crimes, like murder and bank robbery. Either the offender or the Crown (the prosecutor) may decide to appeal the decision of the trial court. The Court of Appeal hears appeals from criminal cases in the Court of Queen’s Bench, and from the Provincial Court if they involve indictable offences.

The appellant may appeal the court’s verdict (guilty or not guilty) or the decision on sentencing. Appeals are often misunderstood. An appeal is not a new trial. There are no witnesses or juries. You cannot present fresh (new) evidence to the judges hearing the appeal (except in special circumstances). The order that you are appealing is not stayed (stopped) just because an appeal is underway.

The Court of Appeal judges will not change the decision under appeal just because it seems somewhat unfair or they might have decided it differently. You must prove that the decision is incorrect because the judge made a mistake in understanding the facts of your case or in applying the law that applies to your case. Even if a mistake was made, you must also show that it affected the outcome of your case.

Your appeal will usually be heard by a panel of three judges. Both parties will have an opportunity to present their case.

You do not have to be represented by a lawyer to appear in the Court of Appeal. But, if you represent yourself, especially on a serious criminal matter, it is wise to first meet with a lawyer and have him or her explain the law to you, and learn the best possible way to present your appeal. He or she can also explain your chances of winning or losing the appeal.

The guidebooks in this section will help you appeal a conviction or sentence or respond to an appeal by the Crown.

Appellant Guidebooks

Respondent Guidebooks