De Novo appeals in Canberra courts up for discussion

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SIMON Corbell says a discussion paper on a potential new sentence appeal process that improves access to justice has been released for public consultation.

“The paper proposes a “de novo” scheme, where a defendant has a right to appeal their sentence from the ACT Magistrates Court to the ACT Supreme Court without having to specify an error in the original sentence,” Simon said.

“It follows a recommendation from the Inquiry into Sentencing Report released earlier this year, that the ACT adopt de novo appeals against sentence to reflect the system in NSW.

“De novo appeals refer to the appeal of a criminal matter anew.

“A matter heard de novo is heard over again from the beginning – the appeal court ‘stands in the shoes’ of the original decision-maker and makes the decision again.

“The adoption of de novo appeals against sentence would be a significant departure from the current system of appeals in the ACT.”

Simon said stakeholders and the community would have six weeks to comment on legal and practical issues they believed may arise from the proposal.

“The primary objective of changes to the appeal process should be a balance between the need for timely resolution of criminal appeal matters and the need to provide a fair opportunity for appeal,” Mr Corbell said.

To view the discussion paper visit www.justice.act.gov.au.

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