Appealing a Criminal Conviction in Singapore | 8 Important Things to Know

criminal conviction

When facing a criminal conviction in Singapore, appealing against the decision is a significant step that can lead to overturning the verdict or altering the sentence. This process is an essential part of the legal system, as it provides a pathway to challenge and rectify decisions that may be flawed or unjust. By appealing, you’re asking a higher court to review your case in light of specific legal or procedural errors
that could have impacted the outcome.
Appealing a conviction is a critical examination of the fairness and accuracy of the judicial process. Whether it’s to correct an error in judgment, address an unfair sentence, or bring new evidence to light, the appeal process exists to ensure justice is served accurately. Let’s explore the answers to some common questions on appealing a criminal conviction in Singapore.

Who Can Appeal?

If you’ve been convicted of a crime, you might wonder if you have the right to appeal. In Singapore, both the person convicted and the prosecution have the right to appeal a court’s decision. This means if you believe there was a mistake in how the law was applied in your case or if the prosecution thinks the sentence was too lenient, either party can initiate an appeal.

criminal conviction

Do You Need Legal Representation to Appeal?

Navigating the appeal process can be both complex and daunting. While it’s possible to represent yourself, working with a criminal defense attorney can significantly increase your chances of success. Legal professionals understand the intricacies of the law and will be able to present your case most effectively. They can help identify the strongest grounds for your appeal and guide you through
the procedural requirements.

On What Grounds Can You Appeal?

Your appeal must be based on solid reasons, such as believing there was an error in the trial’s legal process, incorrectly evaluated evidence or misapplication of the law. It’s not about re-arguing your case but highlighting specific mistakes that could have influenced the verdict.

When Can You Appeal?

You have a limited window to file an appeal after your conviction or sentencing. Typically, you need to act within 14 days, which makes it crucial to decide quickly and consult with your lawyer to prepare your appeal properly. Missing this window could mean losing your chance to appeal, so it’s essential to be prompt and informed about your rights and deadlines.

Can You Appeal More Than Once?

Under Singapore’s legal system, criminal convictions can typically be appealed only once. This is to ensure the finality of legal decisions and maintain the efficiency and effectiveness of the judicial process. However, exceptional circumstances exist where an appeal might be reopened, such as the discovery of new and compelling evidence that could not have been obtained at the time of trial, or if there is a
significant question of law that affects the public interest. These exceptions are strictly controlled to balance the need for finality with the pursuit of justice.

What Are the Possible Outcomes of an Appeal?

When you appeal a conviction or sentence, several outcomes are possible. The appellate court may uphold the original decision, meaning your appeal is dismissed, or it may find in your favor, which can lead to your conviction being overturned or your sentence reduced. In some cases, the court might order a retrial if it believes that a fair trial was not conducted initially. Understanding these potential
outcomes can help set realistic expectations for the appeal process.

criminal conviction

How Can an Appeal Affect Your Sentence?

One critical aspect to consider is that appealing your sentence carries certain risks. If the prosecution also decides to appeal and argue that the initial sentence was too lenient, there’s a possibility that your sentence could be increased upon review. This underscores the importance of careful consideration and consultation with your legal advisor before proceeding with an appeal to fully understand the potential implications for your case.

How Do You Appeal a Criminal Conviction?

If, after thorough consideration, you decide to go through with appealing your case, then you’ll need to follow the below steps:
File a Notice of Appeal – This is your formal declaration of intent to challenge the conviction or sentence, which must be submitted to the court that issued the original ruling. As mentioned above, this step is time-sensitive, so you and your legal team will need to make a swift decision on whether or not to appeal post-verdict.
Prepare Grounds of Appeal – You’ll need to articulate clearly and concisely the reasons for your appeal. You might focus on legal errors, procedural mistakes, or issues with the way evidence was assessed during your trial. This involves a critical review of the trial’s proceedings to identify specific points that could have influenced the outcome unfavorably.
Submit Documents – Alongside your Notice of Appeal, you must provide a detailed Petition of Appeal that elaborates on your basis for appealing. You may also need to collate and submit supplementary evidence or documents that support your case.
Attend the Appeal Hearing – Once your appeal is filed, you’ll be scheduled for a hearing before the appellate court. This is where you and your lawyer can present your arguments to a panel of judges, who will then review the merits of your appeal.
Await the Decision – After the hearing, the appellate court will deliver its judgment, which could confirm, change, or overturn the original decision.

Singapore’s rigorous legal system upholds the appeal process as an important option for those seeking to challenge a criminal conviction. If you’re considering embarking on this journey, remember the importance of understanding each step, the value of legal representation, and the potentially profound impact of a well-prepared appeal. With careful consideration and the right guidance, you can leverage
the appeal process to ensure that justice is served.

Before you go, do check out our other article as well!

Reach out to Simibest to discuss Featuring guest posts!

Keep Sharing and spreading the knowledge:)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *