Guidebook for Indictable Conviction Appeals
3.1 Review the transcript of your trial
When you file your notice of appeal, the registrar will order a transcript of your trial. A transcript is a typed record of everything that was said at your trial. It will contain the basic information you will use for your argument on your appeal. Once the registrar receives the transcript, he or she will send you or your lawyer a copy of it. You should review the transcript when you receive it.
3.2 Prepare your written argument
It is a good idea to prepare and file a written outline of your argument. This is called a factum when it is filed by a lawyer, but is called a written argument if you file it yourself. Your written argument should not be longer than 15 pages. At the hearing, you should base your oral arguments on the outline that you have presented in your written argument. Your written argument helps you to clearly explain your argument to the court.
3.3 Do some research
Refer, if possible, to any reported court decisions (judgments) that support your position. Try to use decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada, the Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan or courts of appeal from other provinces.
You can look up Canadian legislation and legal cases on the website of the Canadian Legal Information Institute.
You can find court decisions in books called law reports and case digests and in annotated copies of the Criminal Code. If there is a specific court decision you are looking for and you cannot find it, you can contact the registry office to see whether the staff there can find it for you, but the staff in the registry office cannot conduct legal research for you.
3.4 When you can use fresh (new) evidence
In exceptional circumstances, the Court of Appeal may allow you to introduce, by affidavit, fresh evidence on matters that were not heard at trial. However, before the court will hear that evidence, you must usually persuade the court that:
- the evidence could not have been called at trial,
- the evidence is relevant because it relates to an issue that was a deciding factor at the trial,
- the evidence is reliable, and
- the evidence could reasonably be expected to have affected the outcome (when taken with the other evidence presented at the trial).
It is hard to satisfy all of these conditions, so applications to introduce fresh evidence are usually not successful.
3.5 How to apply for release on bail pending appeal
If you are in custody and wish to be released until your conviction appeal hearing, in addition to filing your notice of appeal, you must file a notice of motion in Form L and an affidavit in Form M in the registry office.
Prepare your notice of motion and affidavit
Your affidavit should contain at least the following information:
- where you lived before you were convicted;
- where you intend to live if you are released;
- the name of your employer and the place of your employment before you were convicted;
- your employment prospects if released;
- any supports you will have in the community if you are released; and
- any special individual circumstances relating to your physical and mental health, or potential for harm to you or your family if you are not released.
Write your written argument for release on bail
When you are writing your argument for release on bail, it is very important to be as persuasive as possible. There is no required form or format, but your written argument should help you convince the court of the following:
- your appeal has merit (a chance of succeeding);
- you will attend at court on the date of your appeal and will surrender yourself into custody if you lose your appeal; and
- keeping you in custody is not necessary in the public interest.
If you are in custody when the application is heard, arrangements will be made by the registry office for you to appear by telephone before a judge of the court in chambers and registry office staff will advise you of these arrangements.
3.6 Abandoning your appeal