CONTESTING A VERDICT

(Quebec Superior Court, Quebec Court of Appeal, Supreme Court of Canada)

In the event of an unfavourable decision, an appeal to a higher court can sometimes be launched. 

Appeals are a highly specialized part of the juridical process. An in depth understanding of due process and legal frameworks is required on the part of the defence team in order to sway an appeals court that an appeal is warranted in a particular case.  

The court to which an appeal is launched depends on how the prosecution choose to proceed with the initial charge.  For most offenses it is the prosecution who decide if they are proceeding by way of summary conviction or by way of indictment.  This distinction is key when deciding how an appeal will proceed.  For instance, appeals from “summary conviction trials” are heard by the Superior Court whereas “indictable conviction trials” go to the Court of Appeal.

Appeals are either “as of right” or “by permission”.  In other words, for some appeals an appellant can merely deposit a “Notice of Appeal” and for others, permission to appeal must be obtained from the appeals court.

In order to appeal a verdict, it is not sufficient that one is not satisfied with the trial decision.  Rather the specific error in the proceedings must be isolated.  It is then decided whether the error is one of law, mixed law and fact, or of fact alone.  Generally, unless the appeal is based on an error of pure law, permission to appeal is the first step in the process.

Even if an appeal is granted it does not necessarily solve the problem. The appeals court can do one of three things: (1) allow the appeal, (2) deny the appeal because it finds no error, or, (3) deny the appeal when it finds an error, but decides that the verdict would have been the same notwithstanding the error.  If the appeals court grants the appeal from conviction, it can either order a new trial or even order an acquittal.

Appeals are a highly specialized part of the legal process. Your legal team has to be able to understand the trial decision, synthesize the trial information, and convince the appeals court of the error(s).


What Steven Slimovitch Can Offer You

When you or someone you know needs to appeal a decision, it is important to retain the services of an experienced criminal defence lawyer. Steven Slimovitch has successfully brought appeals before the Quebec Superior Court, the Quebec Court of Appeal, as well as the Supreme Court of Canada. He has helped countless people correct grave injustices against them and has supported his clients throughout the legal process and thereby enabling them to get their lives back on track.