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Chapter

Cover Evidence

7. Evidence of the defendant’s good character in criminal cases  

Titles in the Core Text series take the reader straight to the heart of the subject, providing focused, concise, and reliable guides for students at all levels. This chapter discusses the following: when the defence may adduce evidence of the defendant’s good character, what constitutes evidence of good character, the form that a judge’s good character direction must take, what consequences may flow from adducing such evidence, and how the Court of Appeal will react to a judge’s failure to deliver a suitable direction to the jury. The chapter concludes with brief consideration of when, if ever, evidence of prosecution witnesses’ good character is admissible.

Chapter

Cover The Modern Law of Evidence

18. Evidence of character: evidence of the good character of the accused  

This chapter discusses the circumstances in which, in criminal proceedings, evidence of the good character of the accused may be adduced because of its relevance either to a fact in issue or to his credibility. It addresses the following issues: Why should an accused be allowed to call evidence of his previous good character? What is meant by ‘good character?’ Linked to this, where an accused has previous convictions, in what circumstances might it be acceptable for a judge to tell a jury that they should consider the accused as a person of good character? Where an accused has no previous convictions, in what circumstances might it be acceptable for a judge to refuse to tell a jury that they should treat the accused as a person of good character? Other issues discussed include the admissibility of evidence of the good character of prosecution witnesses.

Chapter

Cover Evidence Concentrate

5. Character evidence  

This chapter, which focuses on the admissibility and evidential worth of character evidence, explains the definition of bad character under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (CJA). It examines how bad character evidence of the defendant may be admitted through one of the ‘gateways’ under the Act. It reviews the evidential worth of the character evidence if admitted and explains the difference between propensity and credibility. The law on the admissibility of the bad character of non-defendant witnesses is explained and the reasons for a more protective stance highlighted. The chapter concludes with a review of the admissibility of good character evidence, governed by the common law.

Chapter

Cover Murphy on Evidence

14. Character evidence I  

Character evidence generally; in civil cases; evidence of good character

This chapter is divided into three sections. The first section discusses the uses and development of character evidence from the common law through to the codification provided by the Criminal Justice Act 2003. The second section deals with evidence of character in civil cases, covering defamation cases; evidence of good character; and evidence of bad character. The third section focuses on evidence of good character in criminal cases, including the important case of Hunter [2015] 1 WLR 5367, and covers admissibility and methods of proof; kinds of evidence permitted; rebuttal of evidence of good character; and evidential value of evidence of good character.

Chapter

Cover Evidence

10. Character Evidence  

Chapter 10 begins with a discussion of the relevance of evidence of character. It then deals with the admissibility of character evidence in civil and criminal proceedings. In civil cases, the admissibility of evidence of a party’s bad character is governed simply by the test of relevance. In criminal proceedings, the entitlement of a defendant to a direction on the significance of his or her good character is taken seriously. The Criminal Justice Act 2003 now provides a comprehensive statement of the law on evidence of bad character in criminal proceedings.