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Been Convicted?

Have you been convicted of a crime?

For many years Derstine Penman has had a well-recognized and successful appeal practice. We are and have been counsel on numerous appellate cases in the Ontario Court of Appeal as well as the Supreme Court of Canada.

Appeals in brief:

Appeals are a highly specialized area of criminal law. The process allows a higher court to review a decision made by a lower court. If the lower court where your trial took place was the Ontario Court of Justice, your appeal will proceed in the Superior Court of Justice in the jurisdiction of your trial (Toronto, Oshawa, Barrie, etc). On the other hand, if your trial itself took place in the Superior Court of Justice, your appeal will be heard by the Ontario Court of Appeal located in Toronto.

You can appeal both the conviction and sentence or one of the two. You can also ask the appellate court for bail prior to the hearing of your appeal. In order to obtain bail, you will need to convince the Court that your appeal has a chance of success and that it is not necessary in the public interest to detain you pending the determination of your appeal.

The public interest is especially of concern to the Court if you have been convicted of a very serious crime, such as murder, and received a lengthy jail sentence. The Court also looks at whether you were detained at your trial and will need assurances that you will turn yourself in before your appeal is heard. To commence your appeal you will need to file a “notice of appeal”, which briefly outlines the errors made by the trial court, within 30 days from the date of your sentence. Subsequently, trial evidence, transcripts of the testimony given by witnesses as well as physical evidence, will need to be obtained and filed with the Court of Appeal.

The transcripts provide the basis for the summary of the facts of the case that is included in an appeal “factum”, which is a written document presented to the appellate court containing a detailed statement of the facts and law explaining why your appeal should succeed. It is filed in advance of the appeal hearing. Finally, at the hearing of the appeal, your lawyer will have an opportunity to make oral submissions outlining the facts of your case and the law and convince the Court why you, the appellant, should prevail.

If your appeal was successful because the Court was persuaded that you did not receive a fair trial, this will generally result in a new trial a year or so later. Occasionally, the Crown may decide that it is against public interest to prosecute you again for the same offence. In certain case, the Court may also be persuaded that the there was not enough evidence presented by the Crown at your trial to support the conviction. It will then set aside your conviction and enter an acquittal. If you appeal only the sentence imposed by the trial judge, the Court may decide that the sentence given by the trial was too harsh, or tainted by a legal error, and lower the sentence.


How to contact us:

If you, or someone your know has been convicted of a crime and requires assistance with an appeal of their conviction or sentence, the lawyers at Derstine Penman are ready to provide legal advice and share their vast legal knowledge and experience as well as extensive resources of our firm. For a free consultation, please do not hesitate to contact us by email at or by phone at 416-304-1414 or 1-866-304-1921 (toll free). We accept collect calls from persons in custody.


Some helpful links:

Ontario Court of Appeal:
Supreme Court of Canada: