Appeals

Appeal courts have the power to decide whether a lower court correctly interpreted the law and/or handed down a fair sentence.

Prosecutors may appeal an acquittal or, in the case of a conviction, ask an appeal court to increase the offender's sentence. An offender may also appeal a conviction and/or ask an appeal court to decrease their sentence.

In most cases, the appeal court studies a transcript from the trial and listens to arguments from both the prosecutor and the defence lawyer. Witnesses are rarely required to testify again.

An appeal court can:

  • dismiss the appeal and confirm the sentence and decision of the lower court;
  • change (increase or decrease) the sentence of the lower court;
  • decide that another part of the lower court's decision should be changed; and
  • ask the lower court to redo the trial.
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