Victoria’s new right to appeal law passed

Andrew L. Urban.

Victoria, as of November 14, 2019, has joined South Australia and Tasmania as states where a further right to appeal is now in place, subject to fresh and compelling evidence. 

Victorian Attorney-General Jill Hennessy said in a statement, “These new laws are about delivering Victorians the modern, efficient and fair appeals system they deserve. Convicted persons will now have a right to appeal their conviction if fresh and compelling evidence of a potential substantial miscarriage of justice comes to light – and the courts rather than politicians will consider that appeal, openly and transparently.”

Second appeals will only be available in exceptional circumstances, and applicants will have to show that their case meets very strict legal criteria before they will be able to have their appeal heard.


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4 Responses to Victoria’s new right to appeal law passed

  1. Amanda says:

    Yet, as we now know from Sue Neill-Fraser’s case in Tasmania, the process even to apply for the initial leave to start the further appeal can, in itself, take years rather than months. If there has indeed been a miscarriage of justice, that’s a terrible perpetuation of the incarceration of someone who should never have been in prison. We’ve also learned from this case just how difficult it can be to convince the court that the new evidence is “fresh and compelling” in the legal sense, even when most people would agree that it is definitely “fresh and compelling” in general parlance.

    • Another Peter says:

      Five years ago I attended a talk by Qld barrister Joe Crowley about the many many changes over the last 100 years in Australia to the legal definition in Australia of “fresh and compelling” evidence compared to “new” evidence. I thought this talk was fascinating. Joe studied this topic in depth when he was one of the barristers who got the Graham Stafford miscarriage of justice corrected in Qld ten years ago at the third Stafford appeal (or fifth request for appeal, if you include two refused requests for appeals). I cannot find the talk online – if you want me to try to track it down, let me know.

      Amanda – do you think the current narrow definition of “fresh and compelling” is a serious problem for those who try to rectify miscarriages of justice?

  2. Robin Bowles says:

    Hear, hear, Jerry! Victoria has joined the enlightened states! Congrats to the government.

  3. Henry Gerard Fitzsimmons says:

    Andrew, thank you for this information.
    The sooner that every State and Territory in Australia gets in line with this law the better it will be for every Australian citizen.
    Jerry Fitzsimmons

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