This case dealt with the more unusual use of fresh evidence - in an appeal on sentence.
In particular an offender sought to rely on the fact that Four years had passed between the exposure of the offending and the sentencing hearing. During that time, the offender established a stable relationship and had two children, secured stable employment and recovered from drug dependency. On appeal, he sought to rely on considerable medical evidence corroborating his claim of recovery from drug dependency and evidence from his employer confirming the continuing availability of his job.
The Court allowed the appeal and intimated that:
The Northern Ireland Court of Appeal's power to receive fresh evidence was exercisable in appeals against both conviction and sentence, including applications for leave to appeal. Its power to do so under the Criminal Appeal (Northern Ireland) Act 1980 s.25 was formulated in broad terms. It was fettered only by what the court considered necessary or expedient in the interests of justice. The factors listed in s.25(2) concerning whether to receive fresh evidence were not exhaustive. The court could admit it either upon application or acting of its own motion. It was not a pre-requisite to the exercise of the court's power to receive evidence under s.25(1)(c) that the fresh evidence should post-date the first-instance hearing, Attorney General's Reference (No.1 of 2006)  NICA 4,  2 WLUK 755 considered
T Court found that the material was capable of belief, would have been considered without question by the sentencing judge and its materiality to the appeal was beyond dispute.
Importantly it bore on the public interest in the rehabilitation of offenders.
There was no compelling explanation for failing to bring it to the sentencing judge's attention had been provided, but that consideration was comfortably outweighed by the other factors.
Accordingly, the court would consider the new information. There had been no application for it to be received under s.25. That approach was correct. The outcome would probably have been the same had there been a s.25 application, but s.25 was not designed for the reception of this kind of material (paras 33-34).
The court emphasised that its approach in the instant case should not be taken as the norm.
Generally, all reasonable, diligent and professional steps had to be taken in the assembly of material evidence at first instance (para.35).
The instant court would interfere with a sentence only where it was manifestly excessive or wrong in principle. Where the court received material new evidence or information, that principle of restraint still applied but was modified.
Note - This is a Northern Ireland case and its applicability to England and Wales Cases should not be assumed.