Bad Character Evidence in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • R v Campbell (Kenneth)
    • Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)
    • 26 Jun 2007

    Where evidence of bad character is introduced the jury should be given assistance as to its relevance that is tailored to the facts of the individual case. Relevance can normally be deduced by the application of common sense. The summing up that assists the jury with the relevance of bad character evidence will accord with common sense and assist them to avoid prejudice that is at odds with this.

  • Neil Brewster (1st Appellant) Dayo Cromwell (2nd Appellant) v R
    • Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)
    • 27 May 2010

    It seems to us that the trial judge's task will be to evaluate the evidence of bad character which it is proposed to admit for the purpose of deciding whether it is reasonably capable of assisting a fair minded jury to reach a view whether the witness's evidence is, or is not, worthy of belief.

  • R v Roger George Doncaster
    • Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)
    • 23 Jan 2008

    Thus when a judge is directing the jury about the relevance of bad character to propensity or propensities, he could remind them that the defendant had no previous convictions and say that, in the ordinary case, where there was no evidence of bad character, a defendant of no previous convictions would have been entitled to a direction that the jury should consider that that counted in his favour on the questions of both propensity and credibility; as it was, it was for the jury to consider which counted with them more – the absence of previous convictions or the evidence of bad character; and if the former, then they should take that into account in favour of the defendant, and if the latter, then they would be entitled to take that into account against him.

  • R v Weir (Antony Albert) and Others
    • Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)
    • 11 Nov 2005

    However, once it is decided that evidence of the appellant's sexual relationship with B did not amount to "evidence of bad character", the abolition of the common law rules governing the admissibility of "evidence of bad character" by section 99(1) did not apply. It was capable of demonstrating a sexual interest in early or mid-teenage girls, much younger than the appellant, and therefore bore on the truth of his case of a purely supportive, asexual interest in A.

  • Speidel v Plato Films Ltd
    • House of Lords
    • 02 Mar 1961

    When evidence of good or bad character is given, it should be directed to that sector of a man's character which is relevant. Thus, if the libel imputes theft, the relevant sector is his character for honesty, not his character as a motorist. It is for the Judge to rule what is the relevant sector.

  • R v Edwards (Karl Adrian)
    • Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)
    • 29 Jun 2005

    What the summing-up must contain is a clear warning to the jury against placing undue reliance on previous convictions, which cannot, by themselves, prove guilt. It should be explained why the jury has heard the evidence and the ways in which it is relevant to and may help their decision, bearing in mind that relevance will depend primarily, though not always exclusively, on the gateway in section 101(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, through which the evidence has been admitted.

  • R v Nicky Eastlake; R v Kevin Scott Eastlake
    • Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)
    • 08 Feb 2007

    The jury had to decide whether the two appellants were the two young men who committed the offence. The evidence of bad character was capable of establishing that they had a propensity to commit an offence of street violence, and to do so together. That evidence was capable of lending support to the conclusion which the Crown invited the jury to reach, namely that the two appellants were correctly identified as those who committed the attack.

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Legislation
  • Criminal Procedure Act 1865
    • UK Non-devolved
    • January 01, 1865
    ......An Act for amending the Law of Evidence and Practice on Criminal Trials. (28 & 29 Vict.) C A P. XVIII. [9th May ... not be allowed to impeach his Credit by general Evidence of bad Character, but he may, in case the Witness shall, in the Opinion of the Judge, prove ......
  • Criminal Justice Act 2003
    • UK Non-devolved
    • January 01, 2003
    ......follows:— . 1 . Amendments of Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 Part 1 . Amendments of Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 . ... Evidence Part 11 . Evidence . Chapter 1 . Evidence of bad character . Introductory Introductory . S-98 . ‘Bad character’ 98 ‘Bad ......
  • Common Law Procedure Act 1854
    • UK Non-devolved
    • January 01, 1854
    ......of being against the Weight of Evidence; and the Proceedings upon and after such Trial, as to the. Power of the ... not be allowed to impeach his Credit by general Evidence of bad Character, but he may, in case the Witness shall in the Opinion of the Judge prove ......
  • The Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2018
    • UK Non-devolved
    • January 01, 2018
    ...... or are part of a series of offences of the same or a similar character); or . (b) for any other reason it is desirable that the defendant should ... (ii) the evidence on which the applicant relies will be available at the trial, . (iii) the ......
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Books & Journal Articles
  • Wiping the Slate Clean: Reforming Scots Law's Approach to Evidence of the Accused's Bad Character
    • Nbr. 76-2, March 2013
    • The Modern Law Review
    This paper discusses the Scottish Law Commission (SLC)'s Report on Similar Fact Evidence and the Moorov Doctrine, which proposes revolutionary changes to the way in which Scots law deals with evide...
  • Redmayne's Character and Criminal Jurisprudence
    • Nbr. 79-4, July 2016
    • The Modern Law Review
    ......The Preface promises an in-depth analysis of particular uses of character evidence in relation to defen- dants: good character and bad character evidence, used as evidence of propensity to commit crime and as evidence of credibility ......
  • State, Citizen, and Character in French Criminal Process
    • Nbr. 33-4, December 2006
    • Journal of Law and Society
    This paper charts some major differences in the way in which evidence of the defendant's character is treated in France when compared with practice in England and Wales. Such evidence is more perva...
    ...... 522±46 State, Citizen, and Character in French Criminal Process Stewart Field* This paper charts some major differences in the way in which evidence of the defendant's character is treated in France when compared with practice in England and Wales. Such evidence is more pervasive and visible ......
  • The Context and Impact of Being Wrongly Accused of Abuse in Occupations of Trust
    • Nbr. 56-2, June 2017
    • The Howard Journal of Crime and Justice
    In recent years, there has been rising concern that allegations of sexual abuse, particularly non‐recent abuse, have not received an appropriate response. From this has emerged a new determination ...
    ......, and developments in the trial process related to the rules of evidence have eroded due process protections for suspects. This article considers ... Relevant to the Trial P rocess Rules of evidence: bad character , propensity and cross-admissibility The use of ‘similar fact ......
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Law Firm Commentaries
  • Fee For Intervention: What Will It Cost?
    • Mondaq United Kingdom
    ...... an unchallenged invoice under the Scheme amount to potential bad character evidence in the case of future enforcement action? How will potential ......
  • Fees For Intervention - A New Era For Regulation
    • Mondaq United Kingdom
    ...... the danger that a company's FFI charge history could be used as evidence of previous "bad character" in criminal prosecutions, potentially ......
  • Bad Smells - An Actionable Nuisance?
    • Mondaq United Kingdom
    ...... the standards of the average man with account being taken of the character of the neighbourhood and the duration of the interference.  More ...However, it is evidence that the Court will seek to uphold the private law rights of individuals ......
  • Still No Break For Nestlé As Court Of Appeal Rejects Kitkat Appeal
    • Mondaq UK
    ......é had failed to prove that the shape had acquired distinctive character. . The current chapter in the ongoing 'chocolate wars', discussed  in ... Despite adducing evidence that the public recognised the shape as a KitKat, Nestlé failed to ......
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