A person found guilty by a jury may appeal against that conviction. An appeal is not a re-hearing of the case. The appeal is decided on issues arising from the transcript of the evidence at the trial. In exceptional circumstances the appellant may be allowed to present fresh evidence to the Court. This should be placed before the Court in the form of affidavits from witnesses saying what they would say if called in a new trial.
The appellant must convince the Court of one of the following:
- that the jury's verdict should be set aside as unreasonable or unable to be supported by the evidence
- that there was a wrong decision on a question of law by the judge
- that there was a miscarriage of justice on any ground.[See Criminal Procedure Act 1921 (SA) s 158].
The Court has wide powers to deal with an appeal. It may allow the appeal against conviction, quash the conviction and either substitute a verdict of acquittal or order a re-trial [see s 158].
However, even if the Court finds in favour of the appellant on some point of law, it may still dismiss the appeal if it finds that no substantial miscarriage of justice has occurred [see 158(2)].
The Court may also allow an appeal by the Director of Public Prosecutions against acquittal, quash the acquittal and order a re-trial [see s 158(4)].
Second or subsequent appeals
A person found guilty by a jury may file a second or subsequent appeal against conviction with the permission of the Full Court. To obtain permission, the person must satisfy the Court that there is fresh and compelling evidence that, in the interests of justice, should be considered on an appeal. The Court may allow a second or subsequent appeal if it thinks that there was a substantial miscarriage of justice, quash the conviction and either substitute a verdict of acquittal or order a re-trial [see Criminal Procedure Act 1921 (SA) s 159].
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