Criminal Defence and Appeals
A defendant goes on trial if he pleas not guilty. However, at trial, he may defend himself but he is under no obligation to give evidence himself or to call any witnesses to give evidence because the burden falls upon the prosecution to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt and for the defence to prove nothing.
If the defendant is convicted in magistrate, he may appeal by magistrate under s.104 of the Magistrate Ordinance (MO) or by way of cases stated under s.105 of MO or “Alternative Procedure” under s.113 of the MO within 14 clear days are the judge’s decision if there is ground to appeal. The appeal from District Court or Court of First Instance (CFI) to the Court of Appeal must be applied within 28 days after the judge’s decision with the leave of the court. Leave of the court is required for the court to hear the appeal.
Review by the original magistrate is a cheap and simple way but it is not suitable where magistrate has wrongly exercised a discretion. The defendant may further appeal to the CFI if he is not satisfied with the review by the magistrate within 14 days after the decision. On appeal, the appellant judge may further find the defendant some other offence if he considers that the magistrate could have found him guilty. Therefore, you are advised to discuss with lawyers before you apply for any appeal by way of the above means.