Appeal courts have the power to decide whether a lower court correctly interpreted the law and/or handed down a fair sentence.
Prosecutors may appeal an acquittal or, in the case of a conviction, ask an appeal court to increase the offender's sentence. An offender may also appeal a conviction and/or ask an appeal court to decrease their sentence.
In most cases, the appeal court studies a transcript from the trial and listens to arguments from both the prosecutor and the defence lawyer. Witnesses are rarely required to testify again.
An appeal court can:
- dismiss the appeal and confirm the sentence and decision of the lower court;
- change (increase or decrease) the sentence of the lower court;
- decide that another part of the lower court's decision should be changed; and
- ask the lower court to redo the trial.
- Date modified: