Edward Prutschi explains what happens to the plaintiff while a case goes to appeal.

Most appeals take at least a number of months, if not longer, before they actually get back in front of the appeal court. In typical circumstances, some sort of punishment is imposed, such as, a fine, a suspension of your driver’s license, a period of probation, or a period of jail. There provisions within the criminal code in the appeal court rules to allow one to seek a stay of all of these types of ancillary orders and sentences pending the appeal.

If it’s going to take you nine months to get your appeal heard and you’ve been ordered to step into custody for four months, the appeal is going to be a hollow victory down the line if you’ve already served your sentence. For this reason, we are very active at the early stages, because there are very tight time restrictions for bringing applications for suspending bail pending appeal, or a stay of driving prohibition or a fine.

Sometimes clients are willing to continue with the conditions of bail or pay the fine up front, knowing that if they win the appeal the money will be reimbursed. It becomes a real issue, where people absolutely need their licenses or when they are facing a jail sentence. When they’ve been convicted of an impaired driving offence, the conviction carries a mandatory suspension of the license and so we need to bring in an application to have that stayed pending appeal. We, also, don’t want clients ending up in jail while waiting for their appeal to be heard.

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About the author

I am one of the senior partners at Bytensky Shikhman, a criminal litigation firm in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In my 25+ year career, I have conducted numerous trials and appeals before all levels of Court in Ontario, defending just about every type of charge in our criminal law. I am also an Adjunct Professor of Trial Advocacy at Osgoode Hall Law School and currently the Treasurer of the Criminal Lawyers' Association of Ontario. I am also an Adjunct Professor for Trial Advocacy at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University and a regular lecturer and placement supervisor for Osgoode's Intensive Programme in Criminal Law.
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