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The judge's or jury's decision is not always final. In most criminal cases, a decision at one level of the court system can be appealed to a higher level.

Either the defence or the Crown can appeal a court decision, but the grounds are more limited for the Crown.

Appeals must be started at least thirty days from the imposition of the sentence. In some cases, the accused may be able to be released on bail until his or her appeal is heard, if a jail term was imposed. A prohibition from driving may be suspended while or until an appeal is heard.

If the appeal court chooses to hear the appeal, it may confirm the lower court’s decision by dismissing the appeal, it may modify the sentence, or it may order a retrial to take place. An appeal court will review the transcripts of the trial, but will not require witnesses to testify again. However, if a retrial is ordered, that is, the trial has to be done again as if the first trial did not happen, you as a witness, along with other witnesses, may have to testify again. This process may take a long time.

Victims and other members of the public are allowed to attend the appeal hearing and you can request information about future court dates from the Crown office or the Court Registry.

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