- Maureen SpencerMaureen SpencerPrincipal Lecturer in Law, Middlesex University
- and John SpencerJohn SpencerBarrister and Visiting Senior Lecturer, Middlesex University
The Concentrate Questions and Answers series offers the best preparation for tackling exam questions. Each book includes typical questions, bullet-pointed answer plans and suggested answers, author commentary and diagrams and flow charts. This chapter concerns a complex question in criminal evidence: situations where defendants may adduce evidence of good character to suggest lack of guilt and support credibility, and those where prosecution counsel or counsel for the co-defendant may cross-examine them on previous ‘reprehensible’ behaviour. The exclusionary rule was fundamental to the English legal system and founded on the principle that the defendant should have a fair trial. The Criminal Justice Act (CJA) 2003 made comprehensive changes to the rules of admissibility of evidence of bad character of the defendant and witnesses providing that ‘the common law rules governing the admissibility of evidence of bad character in criminal proceedings are abolished’. There is now a presumption of admissibility of that evidence.