Appeals to the County Court of Victoria

An appeal may be made to the County court following sentencing in the Magistrates' Court. Such an appeal may be conducted as an appeal against sentence, or an appeal against conviction. A County Court appeal is a de novo hearing, and may involve an appeal made by the accused or an an appeal made by the proseuction.

When can a County Court Appeal be made?

There are time limits with respect to a lodgement of an appeal against conviction or setence of the Magistrates' Courts. Such an appeal must be lodged with 28 days of being sentenced at the Magistrates' Court. Notice of appeal must be made to the informant within 7 days of lodging the appeal.

What is a  de novo hearing?

A de novo hearing is conducted as a rehearing and the accused  is not bound by the plea previously entered in the Magistrates’ Court. The County court judge hearing the appeal is entitled to hear evidence that may not have been raised at the Magistrates' Court. Importantly, an accused is not bound by a plea previously entered in the Magistrates’ Court. Even if an accused has pleaded guilty to some or all offences in the Magistrates’ Court, they may decide to plead not guilty in the County Court.

What is an appeal against setence?

Most appeals to the County Court are an appeal against sentence only. Such an appeal isn't concerned with determining whether or not the charge is provded, only on determining an sentence. Occasionaly an accused will appeal to the county court in order to have a disposition involving a conviction to be replaced with a guilty outcome that is made "without conviction".

What is an appeal against conviction?

If an accused was found guilty, and wishes to have the guilty finding overturned, then the matter will proceed as a an appeal against conviction. In such a hearing, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the offences were committed. The prosecution will call witnesses to give  evidence, and the accussed can also call evidence in their defence. If the County Court judge isn't satisfied beyond reasonable doubt the charge is made out, the accused will be found not guilty.

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