Appeals to the County Court

An offender who is sentenced in the Magistrates’ Court can appeal against conviction and/or sentence, to the County Court. Such an appeal is conducted as a rehearing and the convicted offender is not bound by the plea previously entered in the Magistrates’ Court. For instance, they may have pleaded guilty to some or all offences in the Magistrates’ Court, but when the appeal is heard in the County Court, they may plead not guilty to all offences.

If an accused pleads not guilty, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the offences were committed. The prosecution calls witnesses to give or produce evidence of the guilt (or otherwise) of the appellant. If the County Court judge is satisfied beyond reasonable doubt, the appellant will be found guilty and sentenced.

The majority of appeals to the County Court are where the convicted offender has chosen to appeal against sentence only. The submissions as to the appropriate sentence may be made on behalf of the offender and the prosecution. The County Court judge hearing the sentence appeal imposes a sentence they consider appropriate.