Appeals are the final chance to have a case reviewed. Accordingly, they need to be properly prepared by trusted criminal lawyers experienced in preparing and running Appeals. It is also important that individuals progress their appeals as soon as possible. In the recent Court of Appeal decisions in Bolton (a pseudonym) v The Queen  VSCA 117 and Cavanaugh (a pseudonym) v The Queen  VSCA 347 , the Court of Appeal made very clear that inordinate and unexplained delay may lead to a refusal of an application for extension of time. This is because the Court of Appeal seeks to promote finality in proceedings and not have appeals drag on, unnecessarily, which both affects convicted and sentenced persons but also victims of offending. Accordingly, it is imperative to engage experienced and competent solicitors, who can brief Counsel and act promptly to progress your appeal from its earliest stage.
It is also important to note that there are legislative changes coming which will govern how a person can appeal from the Magistrates’ Court to the County Court. It will limit the bases upon which such appeals can occur. Accordingly, if you have been found guilty in the Magistrates’ Court or wish to appeal a sentence, you should do so as soon as possible.
Appeals can be filed on two bases: appeals against sentence and appeals against conviction.
Sentence appeals are filed with the County Court or Court of Appeal. In Court of Appeal matters, a sentence appeal can be filed by either the accused or the prosecution, because the appealing party thinks that the sentence is too severe or too lenient.
Conviction appeals are filed with the County Court or Court of Appeal when a person has pleaded not guilty at Trial and are ultimately convicted by a jury. The conviction appeal is filed because the person is of the view that:
- a significant error occurred in the Trial (either in the form of the evidence that was admitted, a mistake made by a party or by the judge at the conclusion of the Trial);
- new evidence has arisen since the Trial, which significantly affects the safety of the conviction; or
- because the convicted person argues that no reasonable jury properly instructed could have come to the verdict that was delivered.
Criminal Appeals Lawyer in Melbourne
Our firm is regularly engaged in complex conviction appeals by those who argue that their trials were unfair and the jury’s verdict flawed. We are an industry leader in successfully preparing and running appeal matters. It is imperative that if your loved one has been convicted and incarcerated following a Trial that you immediately retain experienced criminal lawyers to commence the appeal process as time limits apply .
With the exception of the most unusual circumstances, where compelling fresh evidence has arisen that raises overwhelming doubt about a verdict of ‘not guilty’, the Crown has no right of appeal in relation to a verdict of not guilty. In other words, the Crown cannot appeal a verdict because they do not like the outcome.
The appeal process can be daunting, confusing and emotional for convicted persons and their families and many questions are usually asked about the avenues available once a Trial or Plea is over. The answers to these questions ultimately depend on the facts and circumstances of the individual case. However, if you or a family member is anticipating appeal proceedings, including those filed out of time, please contact our office for an appointment with one of our experienced lawyers.
In recent years, our firm has prepared and instructed in some significant appellate cases. For example, we instructed in the conviction appeal of Moustapha Dib. In 2012, he was convicted of murder and attempted murder after pleading not guilty at Trial. In February 2016, after exhaustive appeal proceedings, Moustapha was released from prison a free man, after the Court of Criminal Appeal unanimously overturned the convictions and entered verdicts of not guilty.
‘Lawyer X’ Appeals
Our firm made legal history in the case of Faruk Orman, a young man whom our firm represented for 10 years throughout his appeal proceedings. On 26 June 2019, after exhaustive representations by our office and Counsel assisting, the Attorney-General of Victoria announced that she had agreed to refer our client, Faruk Orman, to the Court of Criminal Appeal following a Petition for Mercy. This was extraordinarily rare. Mr. Orman was represented by Nicola Gobbo between 2007 and late 2008. During that time, she was a registered human source with the Victoria Police and informed on our client. In agreeing to refer his matter to the Court of Appeal, the Attorney-General recognised that there was credible evidence available which raised concerns that a miscarriage of justice had occurred in Faruk’s case.
Our office worked tirelessly to have his matter revisited after the atrocious behaviour of Ms. Gobbo and the Victoria Police was revealed in December 2018. On 27 July 2019 (exactly one month after his matter was referred), Faruk walked free from prison surrounded by our team who had fought so fiercely for him. You can watch the judgment here. It made legal history and resulted in a significant change that now benefits every criminal appellant. In October 2019, the Attorney-General announced that no one would have to go through what Faruk did. Now every person has the opportunity to have a ‘second chance appeal’ even when they have previously exhausted all avenues, due to changes in legislation which arguably would not have come about without Faruk’s case. We are proud that our legacy could achieve such a monumental change in our State. We call it ‘Orman’s Law’.
Since the case of Orman, our office has represented another person affected by Nicola Gobbo and the Victoria Police: Zlate Cvetanovski. He is the second person to have his conviction overturned as a result of the ‘Lawyer X’ scandal. To date, our office is the only office which has achieved such results. In Mr. Cvetanovski’s case, we uncovered that the Victoria Police (Purana Taskforce) was secretly paying the key prosecution witness against Mr. Cvetanovski in order to make him comfortable and encourage him to give evidence against a number of people including Mr. Cvetanovski. These payments were intentionally concealed, by being made using money order from Post offices in the name of the witness’s sister. The existence of these inducements, which took place over the course of year, were not disclosed by Police to Mr. Cvetanovski at any time during his trial proceedings.
Future ‘Lawyer X’ Appeals…
Our office is arguably the firm most experienced in Lawyer X appeals. To date, we are the only firm to have successfully appealed convictions for serious criminal offending as a result of the revelations about Nicola Gobbo and the corruption that was committed by Victoria Police. We have had, and continue to receive, expressions of interest from individuals wishing to retain our office to represent them in their proceedings. Now that the Final Report of the Royal Commission into the Management of Police Informants has been released, and affected persons provided with case studies in relation to how their cases were affected, we expect more individuals will come forward. Accordingly, if you believe that your case has been affected, please contact our office to arrange an Initial Client Consultation.
How to Find a Criminal Appeals Lawyer in Melbourne to Help You
With a criminal appeals lawyer in Melbourne working on your behalf, an initial judgement does not have to be the end of the road for your case. In fact, there may still be the potential for a more positive outcome than the one you initially experienced. While there are no guarantees, putting experienced legal minds on your case can make a world of difference in what happens next.
The Best Advice You Can Hear About Choosing a Criminal Appeals Lawyer in Melbourne
In choosing a lawyer to handle your appeals, how can you ensure you make the right choice? Use this advice:
- Experience truly matters. Filing an appeal is a multi-step process and meeting the standard required can be difficult. The more your lawyer knows from experience, the better.
- Take an appropriate amount of time when making your decision and choose the firm that is the best fit for your needs. Don’t rush.
- Ask for information about cases handled by the firm similar to yours, or about recent successes in their legal efforts. This ties in to the importance of experience — these conversations can illuminate just how experienced a team of lawyers may be — but also affords you the opportunity to consider how their successes are similar to your circumstances.
What You Can Expect from Galbally Parker as Your Appeals Lawyer
At Galbally Parker, we take our role in handling criminal appeals very seriously. Correcting errors and preventing unfair outcomes are essential to us. With that in mind, here’s what to expect when working with us:
- A highly proficient team of professionals which exhibits decades of combined experience. With an in-depth understanding of the complex legal proceedings that surround appeals, we can coordinate with our clients to examine all angles and possibilities to understand the strategies which have the highest likelihood of success.
- A compassionate defence team. We understand that our clients are often under a considerable amount of stress and pressure, as anyone would be when facing the appeals process. We take our time to invest in transparent communication and the forging of strong lawyer-client relationships so that you can place your full trust and confidence in our efforts.
- A strong track record of success, including our most recent victory, the freeing of Faruk Orman following the vacation of his conviction as a result of the Lawyer X scandal. Unfairly convicted and imprisoned, we worked tirelessly to gather and present the evidence necessary to demonstrate that Orman was the subject of a miscarriage of justice. We’ll deliver the same level of dedication to all our clients.
Why Trust Galbally Parker for a Criminal Appeals Lawyer in Melbourne?
From our track record of successes in the recent and the more distant past to our highly qualified team of lawyers proficient in many areas of law, Galbally Parker represents one of the top options for assistance with appeals in the Melbourne area. By believing in you and the possibility of reversing an error for a fairer outcome, we can transform the appeals process experience. Take a moment to learn more about us, or contact us to arrange for a consultation or answers to some of your initial questions.