Fresh Evidence Grounds For Criminal Appeal.
You may have heard the term “fresh evidence” when people are talking about appeals. The term “fresh” relates to any evidence that was not introduced at trial. Examples of fresh evidence can be new witnesses that have come forward, advances in medicine or science that weren’t available at trial that can be introduced via a new expert report, or even disclosure that was available at trial but wasn’t introduced
With regard to the fresh evidence, the question the Court of Appeal must consider when deciding on giving permission to appeal is “if they think it necessary or expedient in the interests of justice” (this is actually the legislation outlined in Section 23 of the Criminal Appeal Act 1968) to accept the fresh evidence as a ground of appeal.
They must have regard to whether the evidence is capable of belief, whether it affords grounds of appeal, whether it would have been admissible at trial (i.e. would the Judge have allowed it to be introduced?) and whether there was a reasonable explanation for this evidence not being introduced at trial.
With regards to the final question the Court of Appeal must ask themselves, it should be noted that fresh evidence can still be grounds of appeal even if there doesn’t appear to be a reasonable explanation as to why it wasn’t introduced at trial. Again, we need to go back to safety. Does this fresh evidence now become key evidence that could have undermined the safety of your conviction?
Even if the fresh evidence might have been helpful at trial, it won’t be considered grounds of appeal unless it relates to the central issue of the case.
Fresh evidence is one of the most common grounds of appeal that we get consulted on. We have a lot of experience in appeals and in particular fresh evidence appeals.
If you, or someone in your family has been wrongly convicted and you think that there is new evidence that can be used in an appeal then call us for a free initial assessment.
Call us on 01623 397200