Garton & Harris

Grounds for appeal of a criminal conviction

In British Columbia, the grounds for appealing a federal conviction are governed by Criminal Code sections 674 and 675. Valid grounds for appeal vary based on the specifics of the case, conviction and defendant. The rules are different, for example, if the case was decided on summary conviction or by regular verdict.

A person who has been convicted in trial court proceedings may file a federal appeal against the conviction on any ground involving a question of law or any ground involving a question of fact or of mixed fact and law if they have leave of court or another certification that the case is proper for appeal. The appeals court may determine that valid grounds for appeal exist in other cases as well.

A person may file an appeal following a second-degree murder conviction if he or she was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole for more than ten years. On appeal, the court will consider the appropriateness of the length of the no-parole period. Similarly, a person may appeal the length of parole ineligibility if he or she was under 18 years of age at the time of the offence and was convicted of first- or second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for a number of years greater than the minimum required by law.

Those who have been convicted in trial court proceedings may appeal the sentence, with leave of court, in many cases. A lawyer with experience in federal appeals may be able to assist a person after conviction by examining the facts of the case to see if there are grounds for appeal. An attorney may be able to draft and file the documents necessary or argue on behalf of a client before the court of appeals.

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