BAD CHARACTER

[2019] EWCA Crim 935
[2019] EWCA Crim 935
CA (Crim Div) (Holroyde LJ, Popplewell J, Sir Kenneth Parker)
14 May 2019

Evidence of a rape conviction more than 20 years old was admitted at the trial of a defendant accused of kidnapping and intent to commit a sexual offence. Although there was no evidence of continuing propensity in the years between the two offences, the cumulative effect of similar features between them amounted to a “very special and distinctive feature” within the meaning of R. v M (Michael) [2006] EWCA Crim 3408, resulting in a striking similarity between them.

[2019] EWCA Crim 447
[2019] EWCA Crim 447
CA (Crim Div) (Bean LJ, Sir David Calvert-Smith, Judge Adele Williams QC)
15 March 2019

A judge had been entitled to refuse severance of an indictment, meaning that an offender was tried for historic and recent counts of child sexual offences at the same time. The Criminal Procedure Rules 2015 r.3.21(4)(a) had removed the technical barriers to joinder in appropriate cases: where evidence on one count would be properly admissible on the other as evidence of bad character it was hard to argue that the offender would be prejudiced in his defence by having both counts on the same indictment. In the instant case, the recent counts would have been admissible as bad character evidence at the offender’s trial on the historic counts and vice versa.

[2020] EWCA Crim 4
[2020] EWCA Crim 4
CA (Crim Div) (Green LJ, Soole J, Judge Walden-Smith)
16 January 2019

A judge had not erred in admitting evidence of a defendant’s previous convictions during a trial for kidnapping, rape and assault as rebuttal evidence under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 s.101(1)(g) against the defendant’s attack on the complainant’s credibility.

[2018] EWCA Crim 2868
[2018] EWCA Crim 2868
CA (Crim Div) (Bean LJ, McGowan J, Judge Dean QC)
21 December 2018

During an appeal against a murder conviction, the prosecution was not allowed to adduce fresh evidence of a conversation the offender had had in a welfare visit with his case manager after his conviction, in which the prosecution considered he had admitted to the murder. Although such conversations were not subject to legal privilege, it would be contrary to public policy to breach the confidentiality of such discussions save for very good reason.

[2018] EWCA Crim 2829
[2018] EWCA Crim 2829
CA (Crim Div) (Green LJ, Nicol J, Judge Deborah Taylor)
25 October 2018

When giving evidence in defence of charges of conspiring to sell or transfer prohibited weapons and conspiring to possess ammunition, the appellant had sought to create a false impression of his credibility. The trial judge had therefore been justified in allowing the prosecution to adduce bad-character evidence in rebuttal. Further, such evidence had been kept within proper limits.

[2018] EWCA Crim 2534
[2018] EWCA Crim 2534
CA (Crim Div) (Hallett LJ, Nicol J, Butcher J)
24 October 2018

Convictions for sexual offences were safe despite the fact that material about the complainant had not been disclosed to the defence, because the picture of the complainant put before the jury was nevertheless a sufficiently accurate one.

[2018] EWCA Crim 1393
[2018] EWCA Crim 1393
CA (Crim Div) (Simon LJ, Goose J, Judge Cutts QC)
21 June 2018

While a judge’s summing-up could have been more clearly expressed, it was not confusing, did not advocate the prosecution case and it did not render the trial unfair. Trial judges were reminded of the guidance and draft directions contained in the Crown Court Compendium. Those directions provided judges with an invaluable resource which, when adapted to the facts of a case, provided an appropriate framework for a legally correct direction.

[2018] EWCA Crim 1394
[2018] EWCA Crim 1394
CA (Crim Div) (Simon LJ, Jeremy Baker J, Judge Dhir QC)
21 June 2018

Convictions for possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life were quashed on the ground that bad character evidence should not have been admitted at trial under the gateway for correcting a false impression under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 s.101(1)(f). The judge had also erred, in relation to the gateway under s.101(1)(g), in failing to consider whether the admission of the bad character evidence had such an adverse effect on the fairness of proceedings that it ought not to be admitted pursuant to s.101(3).

[2018] EWHC 984 (Admin)
[2018] EWHC 984 (Admin)
QBD (Admin) (Supperstone J)
25 April 2018

A magistrates’ court which purported to exercise its power under the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980 s.142 to reverse a previous decision to admit bad character evidence had erred because that section was only available in the case of an offender and not where a person was charged with an offence. The Administrative Court had jurisdiction to deal with such a matter while criminal proceedings were ongoing, but the instant decision should not be taken as encouragement to challenge interlocutory decisions in criminal proceedings by judicial review.

[2017] EWCA Crim 2383
[2017] EWCA Crim 2383
CA (Crim Div) (Simon LJ, Holgate J, Sir Kenneth Parker)
8 September 2017

The appellant’s conviction for wounding with intent was not rendered unsafe by the fact that he was tried in his absence. By absenting himself despite knowing of the trial date, he had waived his right to attend his trial, and he had been represented by competent counsel.

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