What is an appeal?

If the accused is found guilty, he or she can appeal the decision. The accused may be released on bail until the appeal is heard. The judge who hears the request considers the merit of the appeal, so that frivolous appeals cannot be used to defer the serving of a prison sentence.

An appeal can involve the verdict or the sentence or both. Not every case can be appealed and the vast majority are not. There are grounds for appeal that involve questions of law and questions of fact or both.

Most appeals involve the sentence – the accused thinks it is too severe or the prosecutor thinks it is too lenient. The judge uses the norms found in reported case law to assess the sentence.

Mennonite Central Committee Canada. (2011). Getting through the maze: A guidebook for survivors of homicide.

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