Successful Appeal to the Supreme Court

Our client pleaded guilty to a trafficking charge in an earlier month and was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment, being eligible for parole after 3 months. We considered that the sentence was excessively harsh and filed an appeal. Our client was released on appeal bail.

In a later month, our client pleaded guilty to a burglary and was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment. We also considered this penalty as too harsh and filed an appeal.

Overall, the charges he faced were:

When the appeals were heard, the Judge expressed the view that our client was eligible for parole and that the appeal should be abandoned in order to apply for parole instead. However, we had been told by the parole board that our client was not eligible for parole until a later month and said that the appeal should go ahead. The Court made enquiries with the parole authorities who confirmed that he was already eligible for parole. The appeals were struck out.

Sure enough, when we made further enquiries back at the office, the Court and Central Records were mistaken and found that our client was not eligible for parole. We filed the appeal again.

When the appeals came back to be heard, the same Judge said that because they had already been struck out, we could not file a further appeal. His Honour said that we were in effect pursuing the same appeal and it had already been struck out. He dismissed our application.

There is no right of appeal to the Court of Appeal from that decision.

Because there was no right of further appeal, our only option was to sue the County Court.

We filed an Originating Motion in the Supreme Court suing the County Court for jurisdictional error. We represented the client at the Supreme Court and it was our stance that his Honour should not have refused to hear our further appeal.

The matter was listed urgently and argument was heard the next day. Before the Supreme Court, submissions were made that the first appeal should not have been struck out because it was not abandoned in writing. In any event, it was argued that the second appeals were new appeals and there was no bar to them being heard.

After the matter was argued, the Crown agreed that there had been an error of law. The Supreme Court made orders quashing the decision of the County Court to dismiss our appeal, and directed the County Court to hear and determine our appeals according to law.

 


DISCLAIMER: This is a real case study of an actual case from our files. Details pertaining to the client have been changed to protect their privacy. The sentence imposed and the charge have not been altered. These case studies are published to demonstrate real outcomes and give an indication of possible tariffs in Court. We do not guarantee a similar case on these charges will get the same result. Please note that we post results at our discretion, therefore while many case studies are average results, others are notable for their exceptional outcomes. PUBLISHED 25/02/2013