Defendants (criminal proceedings)


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Can I appeal?

You have an unqualified right to appeal to the Supreme Court against conviction and sentence. A conviction which resulted from a guilty plea by you cannot be appealed except where the facts set out in the charge are not in fact an offence.

What time limits apply?

Your appeal against conviction and/or sentence must be lodged within ten days from the date of sentence. A notice of appeal is filed with the registry of the district court in which the case was tried and with the registry of the Supreme Court if the case was tried by an Assize Court.

What are the grounds of appeal?

The grounds of appeal against conviction are that:

  • the normal rules of a fair trial have been breached,
  • the conviction is unreasonable, based on the evidence led
  • the decision of the court is wrong on a question of law,
  • a substantial miscarriage of justice has occurred.

The grounds of appeal against sentence are that:

  • the sentence is wrong in principle – that the trial court was misdirected on the facts or the law or both,
  • the sentence is manifestly excessive or manifestly inadequate.

The grounds of appeal against conviction and sentence must be fully explained and justified in the notice of appeal.

What happens if I appeal?

If you exercise your right to appeal, your conviction or sentence will remain valid until the appeal is decided.

Normally, an appeal is resolved within six to twelve months.

Evidence is not normally heard on appeal. New evidence can be heard if through no fault of your own, it has only come to light after the trial.  It must be significant to the trial and relevant to your innocence.

What happens at the appeal hearing?

The parties to the appeal have a right to address the court for and against the appeal.  An outline of the arguments is filed in writing before the hearing. The appeal is not a rehearing of the original case. The object is to review the soundness of the first instance decision.

What can the court decide?

The Supreme Court may:

  • allow the appeal and quash your conviction;
  • allow the appeal in part and confirm other parts of the conviction where you were found guilty on a number of counts;
  • dismiss the appeal;
  • set aside the conviction and convict you for another offence which is more appropriate, based on the evidence and apply a new sentence;
  • allow the appeal and send the case back for retrial before the same or another court.

What happens if the appeal is successful/unsuccessful?

If your appeal against conviction is successful the verdict is quashed and the punishment is set aside. If unsuccessful the appeal against conviction is dismissed. On appeal against sentence, the Supreme Court has the power to reduce, vary, modify or alter the sentence. If the appeal against conviction and/ or sentence is unsuccessful the Supreme Court has the power to direct that imprisonment should run from the day of dismissal of the appeal.

Is there a right to appeal to a higher/different court?

There is no third tier of justice. The remedies available to you are exhausted when the appeal is decided.  If any of your rights guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights are violated, you may appeal to the European Court of Human Rights when no more local remedies are possible.

If the first decision is wrong, will I get any compensation?

If your appeal against conviction is successful and you have already spent time in prison, the law entitles you to seek compensation for loss suffered on account of your inability to work.

If my appeal is successful, will a record be held of the initial conviction?

If your conviction is quashed on appeal no record will be kept of the conviction.

I am from another Member State. Can I be sent back after trial?

If you are sentenced to a term of imprisonment in Cyprus you can be sent to your country to serve sentence provided the imprisonment is for more than six months; exceptionally this limitation may be lifted. You will be informed of this right when you are admitted to prison.

Transfer to your Member State is not automatic. You must express the wish to serve the sentence in your country by making an application either in the sentencing state (Cyprus) or to your Member State.

Exceptionally, if one of the states considers it necessary, because of your age or physical or mental condition, transfer can take place without your consent.

The conditions for transfer are prescribed by the Convention on Transfer of Sentenced Persons. One condition is that the act or omission for which you were convicted must be a crime under the law of the administering state.

Upon transfer to your Member State all matters relating to the conditions of detention are governed by the law of that state, and not the law of the state which issued the sentence.  You must consent to such transfer unless the exceptions noted above apply.

There is no right to appeal against a decision to transfer you to your home country to serve the sentence.

If I am convicted can I be tried again for the same offence?

You cannot be tried twice for the same offence whether committed in Cyprus or in another State. The principle against double jeopardy is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution of Cyprus.

Will information about the charges be added to my criminal record?

A register of previous convictions is kept by the police. Every new conviction is added to your criminal record. The register of convictions is primarily kept and used for sentencing purposes. No record is kept of criminal charges which did not result in a conviction.

The length of time over which the criminal record of your conviction will be kept in the register of previous convictions depends upon the nature of the sentence and ranges from five to 12 years maximum.

Your criminal record can be kept by the police without your consent and you cannot object to the inclusion of your criminal conviction(s) in the registry.

Related links

Convention on Transfer of Sentenced Persons

Last update: 18/07/2019

The national language version of this page is maintained by the respective Member State. The translations have been done by the European Commission service. Possible changes introduced in the original by the competent national authority may not be yet reflected in the translations. The European Commission accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever with regard to any information or data contained or referred to in this document. Please refer to the legal notice to see copyright rules for the Member State responsible for this page.

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