Criminal Appeal Lawyer in Toronto

Have appeal. Will wear gloves.

Criminal Appeals

If you are reading this page, then something in your case has gone terribly wrong. I may be able to help you by appealing your case. I have argued appeals at every level of Court including the Supreme Court of Canada. 

If you want to appeal your conviction or sentence however, you should know that an appeal is not a re-trial of your case. You do not get to call evidence unless you can show that you reasonably could not have known about that evidence or “fresh evidence” at your trial. And, even if you win your appeal, winning usually involves the Court of Appeal ordering a new trial. 

Appeals take time.  It is important to file your intention to appeal after you have been convicted while you are still awaiting sentencing so you can ask for bail the day you step into custody.  Call me. Either my associate Angelo Veneziano or I will take care of you. 

“Have an appeal. Will wear gloves.”

I worked for a judge who told me that good appellate lawyers do not find reasons why a lower decision is wrong, they create reasons and convince a higher court why the client should have won. That’s how I approach your case. 

What happens if you lose an appeal?

If you lose an appeal in Toronto, the original decision of the lower court or tribunal stands, and the sentence or ruling given initially continues to be effective. You may also be required to pay the other party’s legal costs.

How many appeals do you get?

Typically, a party in a legal case has the right to one appeal to a higher court. However, suppose the appeal is denied at that level, and the case involves significant legal issues or public importance. In that case, it may be possible to appeal to the next higher court, such as the Supreme Court of Canada. This further appeal is not automatic and requires permission from the court, often referred to as ‘leave to appeal.’

How do you appeal a conviction in Ontario?

To appeal a conviction in Ontario, you must file a notice of appeal with the Ontario court that made the decision. This must be done within 30 days of your conviction. In this notice, you must state the reasons or grounds for your appeal, such as errors in law or procedure. It’s highly recommended to have legal representation for this process due to its complexity. The appeals court will then review the case, after which it can uphold the conviction, overturn it, or order a new trial.

How do criminal appeals work in Canada?

In Canada, an appeal is initiated by filing a notice of appeal with the court that rendered the original decision, typically within 30 days of that decision. The party appealing, called the appellant, must provide grounds for the appeal, such as errors in law, facts, or procedure during the initial trial. The appeal is then reviewed by a higher court which can either affirm the original decision, reverse it, or sometimes order a new trial. During the appeal process, the appellant may also apply to the appellate court for bail pending appeal. Further appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada may be possible in some cases but requires permission known as ‘leave to appeal.’

It is difficult to comprehend. After all that time. However, it does not have to be over. If you think you did not get a fair hearing, that a judge made a mistake, your lawyer mishandled the trial, or you are not ready to throw in the towel, then you can appeal your case.

First, you should know that time is of the essence. There are limitation periods to file your appeal of your conviction or sentence. These rules of procedure are strictly followed. You need to consult with a lawyer. You need to call Sam Goldstein Criminal Law Trials & Appeals to find out whether your limitation period is over and how you can ask the Court to grant you more time to file your appeal.

Second, you should know that if you are incarcerated then you have a right to bail pending your appeal. If you have been found guilty and you are about to be sentenced, then you need to call Sam Goldstein so that on your sentencing date Sam can file the necessary documents so that you are ready to ask for bail pending appeal on the same date. If you have been convicted of a driving offence, then you can ask the court to allow you to drive pending your appeal.

Third, you should know that in an appeal you do not get to re-argue your case. Appeals are based on the evidence heard. In most circumstances, a successful appeal means that an appellate court will order a new trial and only in certain circumstances will an appeal court hear new evidence. You need to transfer your file from your trial lawyer so that Sam can review the evidence.

Understanding just these three important aspects of the appeal process is complicated and requires an understanding of the law and the legal principles that may apply to your criminal appeal. Sam Goldstein is an experienced appeal lawyer who understands these issues. He will order your transcripts and arrange the necessary documentation. He has appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada on the leading case on limiting police authority to search your cell phone upon arrest and frequently appears before the Ontario Court of Appeal. He also represents public interest groups before appellate courts as an intervener.

His philosophy is that good appellate lawyers do not simply find the mistakes in your case, good appellate lawyers convince appellate courts that mistakes have been made. Call Sam Goldstein Criminal Law Trials & Appeals so he can start crafting your appeal arguments today.

R. v. Fearon, Supreme Court of Canada – limiting police authority to search a cell phone upon arrest.

R. v. Walker-Buchanon –fresh evidence overturning a firearm conviction.

R. v. V. W. – leading case on when defence counsel can cross examine on a victim impact statement.

R. v. Skeete –reduction of sentence.

Frequently Asked Questions

An appeal is a review by a higher court to determine the correctness of what happened at the trial and whether the trial was conducted fairly. Usually, appeals are based on the judge at the trial making a mistake in how he or she applied the law to the facts of the case. In limited circumstance an appeal can review whether the judge properly considered the evidence put forward at trial or whether the evidence was sufficient to support a conviction.

For both summary conviction appeals and indictable appeal you can start an appeal after you have been convicted. Appeals have strict time limits. The time limit is normally 30 days from the date on which you are sentenced. For many summary conviction matters or guilty pleas, the conviction and sentence happens on the same day. It is possible to bring an appeal outside the 30 day period, however, you have to ask leave of the court.

It is possible to get bail while your appeal is before the Court. This is called bail pending appeal. Bail pending appeal requires a separate motion to be brought before the Court hearing the appeal. The Court must be satisfied of three things:


Preparing a proper “bail pending appeal” application may take several weeks. Therefore, it is important to begin preparing this type of motion as soon as possible after the conviction is registered by the judge rather than waiting for the sentence to be imposed.


It is also possible to have ancillary court orders imposed as part of the sentencing be suspended pending the determination of the appeal; for instance, the mandatory year-long driving prohibition on convictions for impaired driving. Fines, restitution, forfeiture of property or probation orders can also be suspended pending appeal. Like a bail pending appeal, this requires a separate motion before the Court that will hear the appeal.

It is possible for the appeal court to hear new evidence on appeal (“fresh evidence”); however, the ability to put fresh evidence before the court is very limited. The appeal court can consider new evidence if it was not available at trial through the trial lawyer’s due diligence, it is significant and reliable evidence and it could have affected the verdict if it was before the trial court.

A successful appeal means that an appellate court will:


a) Order a new trial


A successful appeal can result in the judge (or judges) ordering a new trial if the appeal court is convinced that the judge at trial made a legal error or the trial was not conducted fairly. The appeal court will set aside a conviction and order a new trial before a different judge. It is then up to the Crown to determine whether or not they will re-prosecute the offence. In some cases, the Crown may decide it is no longer in the public interest to re-prosecute the case again and withdraw the charge(s) rather than re-prosecute the offence.


b) Order an acquittal


In circumstances where the appeal court is convinced that the evidence does not support a conviction, the appeal court may set aside the conviction and order that a finding of not guilty, an acquittal, be substituted. This occurs more rarely than a new trial being ordered.


c) Vary the sentence


If the appeal court is convinced that the sentence imposed by the trial judge was too high or the judge at trial made a legal error during the sentencing, the appeal court may lower the sentence, may order that a sentence be served in the community or may remove any ancillary orders imposed as part of the sentencing (such as weapons prohibitions, DNA orders, fines, restitution or probation).

The costs to appeal will vary depending on whether it is a summary conviction appeal or an indictable appeal, the complexities of the legal issues and the length of the trial. For instance, appeals that require fresh evidence are often more expensive. There are also significant costs up front to pay for the transcripts of the trial.


Every word that is spoken in open court is recorded by a court reporter – whether it is evidence from witnesses or legal argument made by the lawyers. The appeal court requires copies of the transcripts be filed with the court to assist them in deciding the appeal.


For conviction appeals, usually the entire transcript of trial is required. In the case of sentence appeals, the court is prepared to decide the matter on less than a complete record, often supplemented by an agreed statement of facts between the defence and the Crown. This often results in less costs.


For indictable appeals, the cost of transcripts alone are $3.75 per page (for five copies) or approximately $500 – 600 for a full day of court time; thus a five day jury trial in superior court could cost $2500 to $3000 for the transcripts.


For summary conviction appeals, the transcripts are usually shorter but the cost per page is higher at $4.30 per page (for three copies).

Want a different type of lawyer?

I welcome your first contact at any time and will offer an initial assessment of your legal case if it falls within my focus of practice.
To formally engage my services as your defence lawyer, I will offer you a Letter of Engagement, which you will sign as acceptance. Your initial payment, by cheque or VISA/MasterCard, is due at that time.

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