Early Indications

Regardless of whether there is a guilty plea or a conviction after trial, we make sure that all of our clients are given an early idea of the potential sentence range.

In some circumstances, we may be fairly specific about what to expect, in others, the range can be rather vast, and in a few rare cases, it can be ‘anyone’s guess’ due to the case’s uniqueness. However, in general, especially where sentencing guidelines are in place, we are quite effective at informing clients of the expected outcome.

However, things do not always go as to plan. The evidence may alter during the case, making it much more serious than first imagined (and vice versa), or the Judge may take a new opinion of the case, or, more commonly, the Judge may make a mistake when sentencing the defendant.

First Steps

Following the sentencing, there should always be clear instructions on how to appeal. This is usually given verbally, but if you request it in writing, you will receive it. In more complicated circumstances, the advocate will usually write a letter explaining why an appeal is or is not suitable.

If an appeal is recommended, we will discuss it with you and proceed accordingly. Similarly, if it is determined that an appeal is not possible.

What are the grounds for appeal?

When it comes to sentencing, there is a margin of appreciation, which implies that the Court of Appeal will not intervene only because it would have punished differently.

There are 13 different grounds for appeal, although they can all be grouped into two categories. In order for the court to interfere, the sentence must be one of the following:

  • Wrong in principle, or
  • Manifestly excessive

All appeals are first heard by a Single Judge, who determines whether or not the matter has substance. If that Judge denies your request for leave to appeal, we’ll talk about the following steps with you.