Defendants (criminal proceedings)


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Can I appeal?

You can appeal against the decision at the trial and you can also appeal against the sentence. You may do so by filing an appeal application before the Court of Criminal Appeal. You must do so within eight working days in the case of a judgement by the Court of Magistrates. In the case of a verdict by the jury and a consequent sentence by the Criminal Court you must file your appeal within fifteen working days from the date of the sentence.

In both cases you may appeal against the decision on the merits or/and against the sentence.

What happens if I appeal?

If you are sentenced to a term of imprisonment by the Court of Magistrates your request to file an appeal will suspend the execution of the judgement until the final outcome of the appeal.

On the other hand if you are sentenced to a term of imprisonment by the Criminal Court following a guilty verdict you will be sent to prison immediately and filing an appeal will not suspend the execution of the sentence. In this latter case you may request bail pending the outcome of the appeal but as a rule this is not granted.

There is no hard and fast rule as to when your appeal will be heard but usually a few months lapse before the appeal is heard.

As a rule you cannot produce new evidence during the appeal but there are a few exceptions such as when the evidence was not known to you or was inadmissible at the time of the trial.

What happens at the appeal hearing?

In the case of an appeal against a decision of the Court of Magistrates, if the testimony of witnesses has not been transcribed, such witnesses will be heard and then your lawyer and the prosecutor will make their oral submissions for and against the appeal.

In cases where the testimony of witnesses has been transcribed oral submissions will be made. In the case of an appeal from a sentence of the Criminal Court your lawyers will make oral submissions in support of your appeal and the prosecutor will then reply to those submissions.

At the end of the trial you will be acquitted or convicted of the accusations brought against you. You may also be acquitted / convicted in part.

What happens if the appeal is successful/unsuccessful?

If your appeal is successful the judgement will be varied or reversed depending on what you request in the appeal application.

If your appeal is unsuccessful, the decision of the Court will be confirmed. In this latter case, if the judgement convicting you to a term of imprisonment has been delivered by the Court of Magistrates you will be taken into custody immediately.

You have no right of appeal to another Court from a judgement of the Court of Criminal Appeal. If the first decision was wrong you have no automatic right to compensation.

If your appeal is successful and the decision is reversed no record of your conviction will be kept.

A conviction is final either upon a sentence of the Court of Magistrates or the Criminal Court where no appeal is made within the time limits or upon a decision by the Court of Criminal Appeal.

I am from another Member State. Can I be sent back there after the trial?

If you are from another Member State, the Court will not order that you be sent back to your country. You may however make a request to the Government to spend your time in custody in your Member State.

The request may also be made by your Government either of its own accord or in support of your previous request. The decision has to be agreed to by both Governments.

The transfer is not automatic and must be set in motion by your request or/and your Government's request.

The decision to send you back to your country is not a Court decision but is one that must be agreed to by your Government and the Government of the Member State which has found you guilty of an offence. As such no appeal lies from such decision.

Information about the charges/conviction

Charges of which you have been convicted will appear on your conduct certificate. However, in some cases, such as where you were below the age of eighteen years at the time of the offence, the conviction will not be entered in the conduct certificate.

This information is held by the Commissioner of Police at the Police Headquarters.

Your criminal record will be held by the Commissioner of Police without any time limitation. However convictions will not be entered in your conduct certificate after the lapse of certain time periods varying from six months to ten years depending on the length of your punishment. There are certain convictions, such as drug related ones that will always be entered in your conduct certificate notwithstanding the lapse of any amount of time.

Your consent is not required for your criminal record to be held by the Commissioner of Police. You cannot object to the holding of this information since it is allowed by law.

Related links

Criminal Code

Last update: 04/05/2021

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