If you disagree with a decision that has been made by the Local Court in NSW, there is an appeals process you can undertake to have the decision reviewed, and if you are successful, dismissed.
The process varies depending on the type of offence, and the reason you are appealing the decision.
If you were not present when your sentence was decided, you can apply for annulment of the decision.
If you were present but you disagree with the sentence imposed, you will need to appeal to a higher court within 28 days of the court date.
What is an application for annulment?
An application for annulment is made when a sentence is imposed by the local court, without the defendant being present.
If you disagree with a decision that was made in your absence, you can apply to have it set aside, and the judge will re-consider.
An application for annulment needs to be filed at your local court, and you will need to pay a fee. An application for annulment is also known as a Section 4 review.
You can make an application up to two years after your conviction.
What do I need to include in my application?
When you fill out your application form, you will need to list the details of the offence, and the court and sentencing details.
You will also need to make your reasons for requesting the annulment clear. If you did not attend court because of illness or other extenuating circumstances, make sure you can provide documents to support this.
If you have a criminal lawyer, they can help you fill out the form and advise you what needs to be included.
You will be given a date for a hearing where a magistrate will evaluate your application, and listen to your case and make a final decision.
What will happen if it is successful?
If your application is successful and you previously pleaded guilty, you will have another sentence imposed.
If you previously pleaded not guilty, you can decide whether to maintain your plea or whether to plead guilty.
If you plead not guilty, you will have another trial where your case will be heard, and you can defend yourself in court.
If you choose to plead guilty this time, you will be given a date for a sentencing hearing.
What if I was in court, but I don’t agree with the outcome?
There are a number of other situations where you can appeal a decision made by the local courts.
The process will vary, depending on the nature of the offence and which court dealt with the matter.
If you want to appeal a criminal sentence or AVO made at a local court, you will need to apply to the district court within 28 days of the sentence.
There is a separate process for appeals made to the Land and Environment court, or for civil cases.
If you want to appeal the outcome from a civil case, you will face more limitations.
You will need to file a summons at a higher court within 28 days.
If you want to appeal a sentence or charges, it is advisable to seek legal counsel, especially as, in some cases, a harsher sentence can be imposed as a result of an appeal.
Your defence lawyer can explain the process, and give you an idea of whether or not you are likely to be successful, and what the possible outcomes will be.