The Court Martial Appeal Court was established in 1983. Under the Courts and Court Offices Act 1995, powers are transferred to a division of the Supreme Court. They have been transferred to the Court of Appeal.The court-martial appeals court comprises a chief justice and two high-court judges.
The appeal court may affirm, quash the conviction or order a retrial, convict on substitute offences if satisfied that they are proven.
An appeal may be heard against sentence only. In this case, it may quash sentences and substitute its own sentence.
Where an appeal discloses no substantial gronds for appeal, it may be referred for summary determination.
The appeal procedures are prescribed by the rules of court. Generally, 14-day period applies. Those serving outside the state with the UN may appeal within 30 days. There is provision for enlargement of time.
An application may be made to suspend a sentence and orders for compensation pending appeal.
The deputy military judge furnishes the registrar the proceedings of the trial. The registrar may direct a report of the case generally or in any particular finding.
Documents, exhibits and other matters relating to the proceeding are transmitted and are available for inspection by the parties. A copy of the proceedings of the court martial is supplied to the parties.
On hearing an appeal against conviction or sentence, the appeal court may direct the advocate general to have enquiries carried as he feels the appeal court considers necessary for the purpose of determining whether further evidence of the persons may be ordered to attend and be examined before the appeals court.
The appellant, the convening authorities, and the representatives are entitled to attend the examination of witnesses. The examination is taken by way of depositions.
The appeal is then determined. The appellant will generally be entitled to attend. The appeal court may break the above orders.
The petition against a sentence may be present other than in cases where imprisonment for life has been imposed by a superior authority. The adjutant general or any general appointed for that purpose. If not satisfied, they may further appeal to the Minister. Petitions in respect of sentence of life are made to the government.
Since 1993, there has been a procedure for review by the court martial appeal court of miscarriages of justice. This may be based on new or newly discovered facts. A review takes place on the basis of the fact that the sentence is excessive on the basis of new facts found.
Similarly, in parallel to the civilian position, there is a provision for a petition to the Minister of Defence for petition of a branch or pardon based on new or newly discovered facts. A pardon is granted by the president under the constitution and on the advice of the government. There is a provision for compensation for miscarriage of justice.
There is a provision for free legal aid in relation to court martial and court-martial appeals. The military judge is the prescribed authority. He may grant legal aid on the basis of the accused means. There is provision for a legal aid preliminary proceedings certificate, a legal aid court martial certificate, and a legal aid court-martial appeals certificate.
There is a provision for appeal to the Supreme Court in exceptional cases from the court martial appeals court where there is a point of law of exceptional public importance, and it is desirable in the public interest that the matter be taken to the Supreme Court. There is a special form of legal aid for this proceeding.