Written by  Joseph 2019-03-05

Can you appeal an Unreasonable Jury Verdict in Melbourne under Victorian law?

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Under section 276 of the Criminal Procedure Act, the Court of Appeal must allow an appeal against conviction if the appellent satisfies the court that:
(a) the verdict of the jury is unreasonable or cannot be supported having regard to the evidence; or
(b) as the result of an error or an irregularity in, or in relation to, the trial there has been a substantial miscarriage of justice; or
(c) for any other reason there has been a substantial miscarriage of justice.

An appeal court can determine that a verdict is unreasonable or unsupportable by the evidence. However, in order to do so the court has to make its own evaluation of the evidence which was presented at trial. It then has to work out whether it was open to the jury to be satisfied of guilty beyond reasonable doubt. If the evaluation of the evidence shows that it was not open for the Jury to be satisfied pf guilt beyond reasonable doubt, then the court will acquit the accused.

  1. The folliwng paragraph is from the high court case of  M v R (1994) 181 CLR 487 at 494

    In most cases a doubt experienced by an appellate court will be a doubt which a jury ought also to have experienced. It is only where a jury's advantage in seeing and hearing the evidence is capable of resolving a doubt experienced by a court of criminal appeal that the court may conclude that no miscarriage of justice occurred. That is to say, where the evidence lacks credibility for reasons which are not explained by the manner in which it was given, a reasonable doubt experienced by the court is a doubt which a reasonable jury ought to have experienced. If the evidence, upon the record itself, contains discrepancies, displays inadequacies, is tainted or otherwise lacks probative force in such a way as to lead the court of criminal appeal to conclude that, even making full allowance for the advantages enjoyed by the jury, there is a significant possibility that an innocent person has been convicted, then the court is bound to act and to set aside a verdict based upon that evidence .

It is also possible to appeal a verdict due to an error of law that occurred in relation to the trial which has resulted in a substantial miscarriage of justice

  1. In Baini v R (2012) 246 CLR 469 , the High Court has identified three situations in which a substantial miscarriage of justice can be found.
    1. Where the jury’s verdict cannot be supported by the evidence;
    2. Where an error or irregularity has occurred and the court cannot be satisfied that the outcome was not affected;
    3. Where the proper processes of the trial have not been followed, in a serious way.


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