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Written submissions closed 18 May 2022
In May 2023, the ACT Government introduced the Supreme Court Amendment Bill 2023 to introduce a new right to appeal a conviction or a finding of guilt on the basis of fresh and compelling evidence.
The Bill allows the court to grant leave to a person to bring an appeal against any conviction or finding of guilt if satisfied that:
In 2022, the ACT Government sought community views and feedback on two issues relating to wrongful convictions in criminal cases in the ACT Supreme Court:
A right to appeal a wrongful conviction due to new and compelling evidence and clarity about the right to compensation if someone is wrongfully convicted of a crime will enhance fairness and transparency in the ACT criminal justice system.
A Discussion Paper on wrongful convictions has been released and is available on this page here to support community feedback on reform to the right to appeal a wrongful conviction and parameters for the assessment of compensation.
A Listening Report on the community and stakeholder feedback on the proposed reforms was published in November 2022.
Written submissions closed 18 May 2022
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Oral submissions closed on 18 May 2022.
The Human Rights Act 2004 (ACT) contains a right to compensation for wrongful conviction but does not set out how this right should operate and how any compensation is to be calculated.
Currently, once a person has exhausted their right to appeal a conviction under ACT Law they cannot appeal again, even if new evidence (which may have led to an acquittal) later emerges.
South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria have legislation for a right to appeal a conviction where there is ‘fresh and compelling’ evidence.
While a right to appeal where there is 'fresh and compelling' evidence would be an important safeguard for the criminal justice system, it is expected that it would be used only rarely, based on the experience of other jurisdictions with similar appeal rights.
In the ACT, there are a number of appeal mechanisms, including the right to appeal orders of the ACT Magistrates Court and ACT Supreme Court, questions of law arising at or in relation to the proceeding, cases stated or questions reserved by the court, and prosecution appeals of acquittals.
The most relevant appeal right for the purposes of this Discussion Paper is that a person who has been convicted can lodge an appeal against their conviction.
Comments and submissions we receive from the community and during other consultations will help shape the ACT Government's approach to reforms.
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We sometimes use third party providers for some web-based services, with information stored in the United States and Europe. These include Campaign Monitor and Mail Chimp for email subscriptions, Survey Monkey and Typeform for online surveys, Social Pinpoint for interactive maps, Viostream for live streaming question and answers, MindHive for running a collaborative forum and EventBrite for registration at events. Please follow the hyperlinks for details on their privacy policies.
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CANBERRA ACT 2601
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