In this article, we consider appeals against sentence from the Crown Court to the Court of Appeal. The appeal process can be complicated depending on the individual case, but here we outline the basics.
We ensure that all of our clients are given an early indication of the likely sentence range, depending on whether there is a guilty plea or conviction after trial.
In some cases, we can be relatively precise as to what might be expected, in others, the range can be quite broad, and in rare cases, it can be ‘anyone’s guess’ only because the case is so unique. But generally speaking, mainly where there are sentencing guidelines in place, we are very good at letting clients know the likely outcome.
But, things do not always go to plan. The evidence may change during the case making it a lot more serious than originally thought (and it can go the other way as well), or the Judge may take a different view of the case, or, and this happens a lot, the Judge falls into error and makes a mistake when sentencing.
In all cases, following sentence, there should be clear advice on appeal. This will normally be given verbally, but you can have it in writing if you request that. In more complex cases it is usual for the advocate to set out in writing why an appeal is or is not appropriate.
If an appeal is advised, we will discuss this with you and take the next steps. Likewise, if an appeal is not thought to be viable.
What are the grounds for appeal?
There is a margin of appreciation in sentencing, which means that the Court of Appeal will not interfere merely because it would have sentenced differently.
There are 13 distinct grounds for appeal, but they conveniently break down into two broad labels. For the court to intervene the sentence must be either
- Wrong in principle, or
- Manifestly excessiv
All appeals are considered initially by a Single Judge, who decides whether the case has merit or not. If that Judge refuses leave to appeal, then we will discuss the next steps with you.