To win an appeal in Ontario, your criminal appeal lawyer must be a master of the written word, a creative legal thinker, and a persuasive oral advocate. To conduct an appeal effectively, a criminal appeal lawyer needs to know not only the law that applied at trial, but the specialized laws and procedures that apply only to the appeals process.
Appeals are not for beginners. Unlike a trial, criminal appeals are about finding legal errors. Without a legal error, even if the appeal court has doubts about your guilt, it will not overturn your conviction. Being innocent isn’t enough. Added to that, an accused who has been convicted is no longer presumed innocent. The person who brings the appeal bears the burden to prove that the conviction or sentence was flawed.
The best criminal appeal lawyers can find errors that others will miss, and are masters at framing the facts and the law so that the appeal court will understand that the error at trial made a difference in your case.
Why choose us?
Criminal appeals are a specialized area of legal practice. Many lawyers are eager to take on appeals, but few have the experience to ensure that your chances of winning are the best they can be.
Abergel Goldstein & Partners LLP has a track record of success overturning convictions and obtaining sentence reductions for our clients. Based in Ottawa, our firm is one of the few criminal law firms located outside of Toronto with significant appellate experience. In the last ten years, our appeal-practice leader, Howard Krongold, has argued over 100 appeals in the Court of Appeal for Ontario, and has presented argument in over half a dozen cases in the Supreme Court of Canada. Our firm also has considerable experience in the lower courts, arguing summary conviction appeals and provincial-offences appeals.
With our help, our clients have successfully appealed convictions for murder, manslaughter, attempted murder, robbery, domestic assault, sexual assault, drug trafficking, and impaired driving, among other offences. We succeed because of our attention to detail, creativity, and relentless work ethic.
A fresh set of eyes?
If you have been convicted of a criminal offence, it is never a bad idea to retain an experienced criminal appeal lawyer to give you an opinion on the prospects of an appeal. An appeal lawyer brings to your case different skills than a trial lawyer, and can often spot mistakes that a trial lawyer might miss.
A criminal appeal lawyer also brings a fresh set of eyes. Trials are intense and stressful. Under that pressure, even very skilled trial lawyers can make a mistake or overlook an error. Bringing in a criminal appeal lawyer is a chance to make a fresh start and take a look at your case from a new perspective.
Should I be worried about how my trial lawyer will feel if I bring in an appeal lawyer?
Often clients are worried about offending their trial lawyer by consulting with an appeal lawyer before their case is over. Sometimes, clients are even worried that their trial lawyer will not work as hard to get them a favourable sentence if the client seeks an opinion about an appeal.
But there is no reason to worry. The best time to consult with a criminal appeal lawyer is before you are sentenced. We are able to work collaboratively with your trial lawyer, and we find that trial lawyers are usually happy when a client retains an appeal lawyer. No one likes losing a case. When losses happen, most trial lawyers are relieved when their client succeeds on appeal.
In addition, we can consult with you in complete confidentiality. If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of your trial lawyer knowing that you’re considering an appeal, your trial lawyer doesn’t have to know until your case is complete.
Defending against Crown appeals from acquittal or sentence.
In Canada, the Crown has a much broader right of appeal than in many other countries. Even after you’ve been acquitted, the Crown has a right of appeal.
Clients are often tempted to keep using their trial lawyer when the Crown appeals. After all, the trial lawyer is one who obtained a favourable result in the first place. But, like appeals initiated after conviction, when you are facing a Crown appeal, you should make sure that your lawyer has the experience in the appeal courts, and the expertise in appellate law, to defend you—again, this is not an area for beginners. The same specialized skills and experience are essential.
Referrals from other lawyers
Lawyers from Ottawa and elsewhere in Ontario frequently refer their appeals to our firm, and we welcome the opportunity to help their clients achieve the result that may have eluded them in the trial court.
Our Record of Success
Of course, no lawyer can guarantee a win in every case. What we can promise, however, is that we will bring the experience of having fought, and won, countless appeals against the odds. For example:
Regina v. A.: We helped our client have his conviction for murder overturned on appeal. We represented him at this retrial, and he was acquitted of all charges.
Regina v. B.: Our client was convicted of second degree murder at trial. We appealed, and the conviction was quashed and a new trial ordered. The Crown appealed the case to the Supreme Court of Canada, where we were successful in having the order for a re-trial upheld.
Regina v. M.: Our client was convicted of manslaughter. After we filed our written argument with the Court of Appeal for Ontario, the Crown consented to a new trial.
Regina v. S.: Our client was convicted of drug trafficking at trial. The Court of Appeal ordered a new trial because of errors in the trial judge’s assessment of the evidence.
Regina v. G.: Our client was convicted of robbery at trial. The Court of Appeal ordered a new trial because of weaknesses in the identification evidence called at trial.
Regina v. B.: Our client was convicted of domestic assault. The Court of Appeal ordered a new trial because the trial judge erred in his assessment of the evidence.
Regina v. P.: Our client was convicted of refusing to provide a breath sample during a D.U.I. investigation. The Superior Court of Justice ordered a new trial on the basis that the judge had erred in his legal analysis of the offence.
Regina v. H.: Our client was convicted of driving “over 80” (i.e. with too much alcohol in his blood). The appeal court found that the trial judge erred in failing to properly consider the accused’s evidence.