Appeals against Sentence

Changes to Sentence by the Court of Appeal

One of the key roles of the Victorian Court of Appeal is to review sentences on appeal from the County and Supreme Courts (the higher courts) and correct any errors identified in the sentencing process.

The Council has concluded an analysis of sentence appeals in the higher courts, releasing its findings in August 2018 in Sentence Appeals in Victoria: Second Statistical Research Report.

In the report, the Council considered all cases originally sentenced in the higher courts during the 2013–14 financial year.  Using a three-and-a-half-year follow-up period to December 2016, the Council addressed a number of research questions:

  • What proportion of cases sentenced in the higher courts had their sentence changed on appeal during the reference period?
  • What proportion of successful appeals were initiated by the offender or the Crown?
  • Which sentence types and lengths were most likely to be successfully appealed?
  • Which offences were most likely to have their sentences successfully appealed?
  • What was the amount, or degree, of change between the original sentence and the appealed sentence?

The new report follows up on the Council’s Sentence Appeals in Victoria: Statistical Research Report, which examined sentence appeals in Victoria from 1996 to 2011.

Sentence Appeals in Victoria

Under the Crimes Act 1958, offenders can appeal:

  • against their conviction for an offence
  • the sentence imposed for an offence.

The Director of Public Prosecutions can appeal against the sentence imposed on an offender.

The Council has investigated the role of sentence appeals within the Victorian sentencing framework. This includes some discussion of the rules and processes relating to sentencing appeals to the Court of Appeal in Victoria.

The Council has also undertaken an examination of the extent, nature and outcomes of appeals against sentence, including:

  • recent trends in the number of applications for leave to appeal and substantive appeals against sentence lodged and determined by the Court of Appeal
  • the extent of the delay between the original sentence and the determination of the appeal
  • the success rates for both leave applications and substantive appeals
  • the frequency with which different grounds of appeal are used and their success rate
  • the extent to which sentences change as a result of successful appeals.

The Council has published its statistical research report on sentence appeals in Victoria.

The Sentence Appeals in Victoria Statistical Research Report is available for download from this website.