BAD CHARACTER

[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.

[2019] EWCA Crim 1363
[2019] EWCA Crim 1363
CA (Crim Div) (Leggatt LJ, Popplewell J, Judge Marson QC)
18 July 2019

Convictions for rape and indecent assault were deemed unsafe where a judge had failed to give a jury clear directions as to whether, and if so how, they could rely on the evidence of each victim when considering the allegations made by the other.

[2019] EWCA Crim 1296
[2019] EWCA Crim 1296
CA (Crim Div) (Davis LJ, Warby J, Judge Potter)
9 July 2019

A sentence of two years’ imprisonment for possession of a Taser disguised as a torch was upheld where proper account had been taken of exceptional and mitigating circumstances justifying a departure from the mandatory minimum sentence of at least five years’ imprisonment pursuant to the Firearms Act 1968 s.51. A deterrent sentence was required, and in view of the appellant’s bad character there was no justification for suspending the sentence.

[2019] EWCA Crim 1144
[2019] EWCA Crim 1144
CA (Crim Div) (Simon LJ, Picken J, Swift J)
13 June 2019

A trial judge had been entitled to admit bad character evidence following a Criminal Justice Act 2003 s.101(1)(e) application by an accused’s co-defendant, as going towards the accused’s propensity to tell the truth, despite having refused the prosecution’s s.101(1)(d) application to admit the same bad character evidence due to its weaknesses.

[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.

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