If you are convicted of a criminal offence in the District Court you have a right to appeal the decision from the District Court to the Circuit Court which is a general right to appeal set down in the Courts of Justice Act, 1928.
However you cannot appeal against the conviction alone; you must appeal either the severity of the sentence imposed or the severity of sentence and conviction.
The appeal in the Circuit Court will be heard by a Judge sitting alone and you can put forward new evidence in your case. However the Circuit Court can increase your punishment if it finds against you but it can also simply affirm the decision of the District Court or vary the sentence as it sees fit.
There is no further right of appeal from the Circuit Court to a higher court but there is a right of a judicial review by the High Court in appropriate cases.
Once an appeal is lodged, and this must be done within 14 days of conviction, the original District Court decision is suspended until the outcome of the appeal. This means that if you are convicted of a driving offence leading to a disqualification from driving and you lodge an appeal the disqualification does not apply.
Extension of time to appeal
If you do not lodge your appeal within 14 days of conviction you will need to make an application to the District Court seeking an extension of time within which to appeal.
However if you have been disqualified from driving and do not appeal within 14 days the disqualification will still stand even if you are successful in your application to extend time to appeal.
Court of criminal appeal
The Court of Criminal Appeal hears appeals from the Circuit Court, the Special Criminal Court and the Central Criminal Court.
However it can only hear appeals on the basis of a point concerning the conduct of the trial or on a point of law and the appeal is based on a transcript of the original trial.
Some other remedies open to you if you feel you have not obtained justice include the following which are orders arising from a successful judicial review.
A Judicial review is an action to the High Court and is appropriate where a Court has convicted you in excess or breach of it’s jurisdiction or you feel that natural or constitutional justice has not been observed in the conduct of your trial/hearing.
Arising from a judicial review the High Court may make any of the following orders-
- Certiorari( this is an order which quashes a decision of the Court and might be used if you can show that the Court acted in excess of it’s powers)
- Mandamus (this is an order directing someone to do it’s legal duty)
- Injunction and declaration
- Quo warranto
- Habeas corpus
- Appeal by way of consultative case stated
- Appeal against a decision of the Court of Criminal Appeal
- Appeal by way of case stated.
Always discuss your case with a legal professional such as a solicitor or barrister before deciding to appeal.