Guidebook for Indictable Conviction Appeals
4.1 Address the court
You are the appellant, the person making the appeal. Usually you are the first to speak to the court and provide it with basic information. In the Court of Appeal, three judges (or, rarely, five or seven judges) will hear your appeal.
At the beginning of the hearing, you will be asked to give the reasons why you think the appeal should be allowed. State the points clearly and politely. At this time, do the following:
- state the grounds of appeal that you are using to make your arguments,
- point out briefly the facts or the parts of the transcript that support your arguments, and
- refer to any reported court decisions that support your position.
If the judges ask questions, take your time answering and try to be as persuasive as you can.
After your argument, the Crown lawyer will make his or her arguments. You then have the right to briefly reply to any arguments the Crown lawyer raised. The court will then decide whether to allow or dismiss the appeal.
4.2 Possible results of an appeal
The Court of Appeal may give you an answer on the day of your appeal hearing. But sometimes the court will reserve its decision (make it later) and you will have to wait. The court may allow your appeal or it may dismiss it. If the court allows your appeal, it can do one of three things:
- acquit you,
- order a new trial, or
- substitute a conviction for a different offence.
In most cases where the court allows an appeal, it will order a new trial. The court will generally only acquit someone if the evidence is so weak that a new trial could not end in a conviction.
Appealing to the Supreme Court of Canada
If you want to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC), contact the SCC registry office for information. Ask the registry office for their unrepresented criminal litigant appeals materials, or access the material from the SCC’s website. Here is contact information for the Supreme Court of Canada:
Supreme Court of Canada
301 Wellington Street