James Colton - Justice Online

English Justice is Injustice

Nemo tenetur prodere seipsum

(‘no one is obliged to accuse himself)

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email: jamescolton1943@hotmail.com


How to appeal a conviction?

    make a motion asking the trial judge to overturn the jury's guilty verdict and enter a verdict of not guilty.
    move for a new trial—that is, ask the judge to set aside the jury's verdict, declare a mistrial, and start over, or.
    appeal or seek a writ, which means asking a higher court to reverse a conviction.

 Appealing against conviction

Appealing against conviction

A person who is convicted of an offence or series of offences at the Crown Court may Appeal against the conviction(s) to the Court of Appeal, Criminal Division. Ordinarily, appeals must be lodged within 28 days, although the reality is that a vast amount of people following conviction seek different representation for the appeal and so lodging the appeal within 28 days is not possible.

There are many grounds of appeal against conviction that can be raised. Ultimately, the Court of Appeal will consider whether the conviction is ‘safe.’ This term ‘safe’ is not defined and there are no guidelines offering assistance to Court of Appeal Judges that can be looked at to help decide whether to overturn a conviction or not. Each case is very much determined on its own merits.

There are numerous very common grounds of appeal that I receive on a regular basis from clients. The most common complaint is where the client states that he or she is innocent and that the Jury came to the wrong decision. Unfortunately, this complaint on its own does not give rise to a ground for appeal. There must be something else. For example, if it can be shown that the Jury heard something during the case which it is felt that they should not have heard then justified grounds can begin to be made. One very common example of this is where the trial Judge wrongly allows certain evidence to be heard by the Jury, such as the ‘bad’ character of the defendant. Judges do not always get things right and often make mistakes when it comes to making legal rulings which are adverse to the defence. If the trial Judge allows things to happen during the trial which are unfair to the defence and which prejudice the trial in such a way that cannot be corrected in any other way, then it would be arguable that a conviction is unsafe. The Judge allowing hearsay evidence to be admitted would be another example of this and where the defence have no real opportunity to test the evidence that is admitted.

There will undoubtedly be many hundreds of people reading this article who feel very aggrieved about being convicted. A vast Majority will also have been told by the original trial Lawyers that no appeal exists. However, seeking a second opinion can often lead to positive news. My firm has an established appeals department who very often advise and assist clients who have been convicted and who have been told that no appeal exists. A very common ground raises relates to the quality of representation. Many clients say that there trial Lawyers didn’t follow instructions, failed to call relevant defence witnesses (or even contact them in the first place), failed to object to evidence which the Prosecution relied on, failed to cross examine in sufficient detail so on and so on. Whilst it is difficult to successfully appeal a conviction based on ‘incompetent’ representation, it is a perfectly proper appeal ground. Trial Lawyers, like Judges, make mistakes.

Many other appeals focus on the way in which the Judge summed up the case. Judges can occasionally be biased in their summing up, or fail to mention certain very crucial aspects of the defence case, and even get the directions on law wrong!

In addition, a very common ground relates to fresh evidence which has arisen since conviction. For example, a new witness may have materialised who was not contactable or available before or during trial. Maybe the original Lawyers didn’t make any attempts to contact vital witnesses. Either way, a fresh appeal can often be lodged after the witness(es) are spoken to and the evidence they give would or could have made a real diff erence to the outcome at trial. Perhaps even advances in technology or science have undermined the evidence relied upon by the Prosecution at trial to the extent that new statements need to be taken. There have been substantial developments in recent years with DNA evidence for example. The reality is that it can often take some time, months or even years, for fresh evidence to crop up, but when it does it is important to act quickly and get the evidence assessed by a competent appeal Lawyer.

If anything is taken from this from this article, it is not to give up and to believe that there is always hope. Just because trial Lawyers advise that your conviction is unsafe, that does not mean that you have to agree. There is funding available, albeit limited, to seek second opinions regarding appeals against both conviction and sentence. If you feel that there are issues within your trial that you remain very unhappy about, whether it relates to evidence which the Judge allowed to be heard, the way the Judge summed up the case, the way in which your case was prepared and presented or anything that you a real sense of unease, then write to Wells Burcombe and we will do our best to assist.


Rules and Practice Directions


 click to see full rules.

Fight or Flight How Courts

Mislead Juries

When you think things couldn’t get worse for men at trial on a false allegation, they do! Judges give out warning to juries why a woman does not fight back when attacked.

These warnings are based on the word of 2 women man haters. Professor Louise Ellison of Leeds University and Professor Vanessa Munro, of Leicester University.

There submission on why women do not fight back when attacked is corrupted hate of men.

See main article click

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