Appellate Court Dismisses Fresh Evidence Appeal in Mohammed Sajid v R Case, Upholding Conviction Integrity

Citation: [2023] EWCA Crim 1346
Judgment on


The case of Mohammed Sajid v R encapsulates fundamental considerations in the appeals process, specifically dealing with applications for extensions of time, leave to appeal against convictions, and the introduction of fresh evidence under section 23 of the Criminal Appeal Act 1968. The case reveals the appellate court’s thorough approach to assessing the credibility of new evidence, applying legal principles to ascertain the integrity of a conviction. This article meticulously examines the court’s rationale in the dismissal of the appellant’s applications and the affirmation of the trial court’s decision.

Key Facts

The appellant, Mohammed Awais Sajid, was convicted of conspiracy to commit violent disorder and causing grievous bodily harm with intent and was sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment. The incident in question involved a violent confrontation where witnesses identified Sajid as wielding an axe, causing severe injuries to a victim. At a re-trial, a witness named Imran testified against Sajid, having not done so at the original trial.

Years after the conviction, a recording surfaced wherein Imran allegedly claimed he had not been present at the scene and had been coerced by the police to provide false testimony against Sajid. Sajid sought to admit this recording as fresh evidence to appeal his conviction, contending that it demonstrated that Imran’s trial testimony was false, thereby rendering the conviction unsafe.

Extensions of Time and Leave to Appeal

Sajid’s application for an extension of time for leave to appeal his convictions required the court to consider whether the lateness in bringing the appeal was justified. Additionally, to be granted leave to appeal, Sajid had to show arguable grounds that his convictions were unsafe.

Introduction of Fresh Evidence

Under section 23 of the Criminal Appeal Act 1968, the court may admit fresh evidence if it is concluded necessary in the interests of justice. Factors the court considers include whether the fresh evidence is credible, could have been obtained at the trial with reasonable diligence, did not exist during the trial, or shows that evidence given at trial was false.


Credibility Assessment

The court meticulously scrutinized the credibility of the recording, which was purportedly fresh evidence. The conversation in the recording implied that Imran’s trial testimony was fabricated under police coercion. However, upon examination, the court found several discrepancies and improbabilities in the evidence surrounding the recording’s creation and content. The credibility of Imran’s claims about police and CPS misconduct in the recording was undermined by the outlandish nature of his allegations, including a supposed payment from the CPS.

Impact on Conviction

The court evaluated whether the alleged fresh evidence could render the original conviction unsafe and assessed the impact that such evidence may have had on the trial’s outcome. It was determined that even if the recording were admitted, it would not have changed the guilty verdict because the evidence’s credibility was substantially in doubt, and other factors, such as the eyewitness testimony, supported the conviction.

Consideration of Procedural Aspects

The court considered why the fresh evidence was not presented earlier, notably the failure to call a witness who could have potentially corroborated Imran’s later claim at trial. Sajid’s legal team was found to have knowledge of this witness’s potential testimony at trial but opted not to call him.

Treatment of Speculative Arguments

The conjectures raised by Sajid’s defense—such as the assumption that the prosecution would not call Imran in a re-trial—were dismissed by the court as speculative and not pertinent to the task of determining whether the evidence was capable of belief.


The Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) demonstrated judicious application of criminal appellate principles, underscoring the paramountcy of credible evidence in challenging convictions. By dissecting the presented evidence and evaluating its substantive correlation with principles governing fresh evidence admissibility, the court shielded the judicial process from speculative and incredulous claims. The decision reaffirms the sanctity of established verdicts and the high threshold for overturning them on appeal, particularly through the introduction of new evidence purportedly undermining trial testimony. The rigorous scrutiny applied in Mohammed Sajid v R reinforces the integrity of the criminal appeals system and assures legal practitioners that only cogent and trustworthy evidence will merit reconsideration of a conviction.