Does the punishment fit the crime?

Every day in Western Australia, hundreds of sentences are handed down to people who have been convicted of criminal offences.


Whether it be for breaking into a shop, stealing from an employer, assaulting a partner or selling illicit substances, there are a variety of sentences imposed for an even wider number of offences which have been committed.

People are sentenced either after they have pleaded guilty to an offence, or after they have pleaded not guilty but have been found guilty by a Magistrate, Judge or Jury. When they are sentenced, a lawyer will present a plea in mitigation, which you can read more about in the blog “Doing the Time but Not the Crime?”. But what happens to those who are not happy with the outcome and think it was unfair? They generally seek advice on how to appeal.

One of the first things to be aware of, is that there isn’t a right of appeal just because the outcome was not what someone wanted to receive. For an appeal on sentence to be successful, it must demonstrate a legal error. In considering whether or not an error has been, our lawyers will reviewed all of the materials which were relied upon at the sentencing hearing, as well as the transcript of what was said. We can then advise our clients whether there are any prospect of appealing the sentence.

If it is considered that a legal error has been made and appeal has reasonable prospects of success, an appeal will need to be lodged with the Supreme Court. This process starts by filing an Appeal Notice a certain number of days after the sentence is handed down. It is important to get legal advice on what time limit your matter has in order to appeal on time.

To find out if you can appeal your sentence, contact our criminal defence lawyers on (08) 9386 5200.

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