I don’t agree with my provincial offences trial. Can I appeal?

If you’ve been found guilty of a provincial offence, you can appeal the decision, the sentence, or both.

You must start your appeal within 30 days from the date of the decision. You don’t need to get permission to appeal, sometimes called leave, before starting your appeal.

Your appeal will be decided by a judge at the Ontario Court of Justice. You must show that the Provincial Offences Court made an error that makes the decision improper. You usually can’t introduce new evidence. All you can do is argue that the Justice of the Peace made a wrong decision with the evidence they had.

An appeal judge must show deference to the trial decision. This means that the appeal judge cannot change a decision just because they view the evidence differently than the Justice of the Peace. You must show there was some kind of error. But, not all errors will change the outcome of a case on appeal.

The decision of an appeal judge can be appealed to the Ontario Court of Appeal in limited circumstances. You must first get the permission of the Ontario Court of Appeal before starting an appeal.

Steps in an appeal

Part VII of the Provincial Offences Act and Ontario Regulations 722/94 and 723/94 set out the rules for appeals.

The rules are different depending on what kind of offence you’re appealing. But, the basic steps for all appeals are:

  1. Write a Notice of Appeal
  2. Serve and file the Notice of Appeal
  3. Pay any outstanding fines
  4. Order your trial transcript, if required
  5. Get a hearing date
  6. Prepare for your appeal
  7. File a factum, which is a written argument, if necessary
  8. Go to your appeal
  9. Get a decision

Get legal help

Appealing a Provincial Offences Court decision can be complicated. You may want to get legal advice from a lawyer or paralegal.

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