BAD CHARACTER

[2020] EWCA Crim 855
[2020] EWCA Crim 855
CA (Crim Div) (Dingemans LJ, Cutts J, Judge Karu)
8 July 2020

A defendant’s conviction for sexual offences was not rendered unsafe by virtue of the fact that a police caution, which had been admitted in evidence at trial to give the jury a full picture of his character, was deleted after the trial.

[2020] EWCA Crim 820
[2020] EWCA Crim 820
CA (Crim Div) (Lord Burnett LCJ, Sweeney J, Murray J)
30 June 2020

A jury’s decisions to convict a defendant of oral rape but to acquit of vaginal rape were not irreconcilable where the victim had been asleep at commencement of the oral sex and had mistaken the offender for her boyfriend. Social media messages detailing the defendant’s involvement in a sexual conquest game were properly admitted as important explanatory evidence and evidence relevant to consent and the jury had been correctly directed as to the relevance of the messages.

[2020] EWCA Crim 790
[2020] EWCA Crim 790
CA (Crim Div) (Fulford LJ, Cheema-Grubb J, Sir Nicholas Blake)
23 June 2020

The court gave guidance on issues arising in criminal investigations and proceedings relating to the retention, inspection, copying, disclosure and deletion of digital records held on electronic devices such as mobiles phones by prosecution witnesses, including complainants.

[2020] EWCA Crim 284
[2020] EWCA Crim 284
CA (Crim Div) (Fulford LJ, Sweeney J, Lambert J)
28 February 2020

A judge had erred in refusing to admit bad character evidence against a witness whose credibility was at issue in a criminal trial. The witness had been accused of attempting to blackmail another witness by saying that she would allege sexual misconduct against him if he did not pay her money. The judge had erred in concluding that the blackmail allegation was not evidence of a false complaint and in holding that the allegation did not have substantial probative value because the evidential dispute could not be resolved by a jury.

[2020] EWCA Crim 137
[2020] EWCA Crim 137
CA (Crim Div) (Simon LJ, Cutts J, Eady J)
12 February 2020

In a rape trial where the central issue was credibility, the judge had been entitled to permit the prosecution to adduce evidence of a defence witness’s bad character under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 s.100(1)(b). The fact that the witness had been convicted of serious sexual offences might fairly be regarded as providing an explanation of why he might be prepared to lie to assist a friend accused of similar offences.

[2020] EWCA Crim 38
[2020] EWCA Crim 38
CA (Crim Div) (Singh LJ, Spencer J, Judge Leonard QC)
21 January 2020

For the purposes of commission of the offence of possession of an article for use in fraud, contrary to the Fraud Act 2006 s.6(1), the phrase “for use in the course of or in connection with any fraud” could apply to articles that were used to mislead a victim, but also to articles created later in order to disguise or mask the fraud. There was nothing in the authorities to the effect that the relevant fraud could not be one which had been committed in the past.

CA (Crim Div) (Davis LJ, Nicol J, Johnson J)
19 December 2019

Although the transcript of a Crown witness’s interview should have been disclosed to the defence, there was no contradiction in it compared to what was said at trial that was capable of affecting the safety of an offender’s conviction for possession of a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life.

[2019] EWCA Crim 2100
[2019] EWCA Crim 2100
CA (Crim Div) (Lord Burnett LCJ, Sweeney J, Sir Roderick Evans)
29 November 2019

In an indecent assault trial which turned on the comparative credibility of the complainant and the defendant, the judge should have given a full good-character direction in respect of the defendant. His failure to do so, coupled with his direction that the jury should treat the unchallenged evidence of the defendant’s character witnesses with caution, simply because they knew him well, rendered the defendant’s conviction unsafe.

[2019] EWCA Crim 2052
[2019] EWCA Crim 2052
CA (Crim Div) (Fulford LJ, Nicklin J, Sir Kenneth Parker)
26 November 2019

An individual’s conviction for two counts of conspiracy to cheat the public revenue were safe. Although there had been failures in the prosecution’s disclosure process, they had not been in bad faith and they had been cured by the time of the trial. The prosecution had also been entitled not to investigate further the allegation that there had been another conspirator, due to insufficient evidence against him.

[2019] EWCA Crim 1825
[2019] EWCA Crim 1825
CA (Crim Div) (Flaux LJ, Goose J, Julian Knowles J)
17 October 2019

Permission to appeal against sentence and convictions for manslaughter and child cruelty by the victim’s father were refused where there had been no error in the admission of bad character evidence at trial and the 10-year sentence of imprisonment was not manifestly excessive.

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