Criminal Litigation SGS 9 Character Evidence

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billsykes
ID:
210151
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Criminal Litigation SGS 9 Character Evidence
Updated:
2013-03-30 11:29:54
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Criminal Litigation SGS
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Criminal Litigation SGS 9
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  1. Ben Wilson is charged with robbery. After arrest he was interviewed. In interview he claimed that it was a case of mistaken identification. At trial, the prosecution adduce evidence of Wilson’s interview. The prosecution also concede that Wilson is a man of good character. Wilson does not give evidence, but in her closing speech defence counsel reminds the jury of what Wilson said in interview.

    Which one of the following statements, concerning the trial judge’s direction to the jury on Wilson’s character, is CORRECT?

    [A] The judge should give the jury directions regarding Wilson’s propensity to commit offences and his credibility.

    [B] The judge should only give the jury a direction regarding Wilson’s propensity to commit offences.

    [C] No direction should be given.

    [D] The judge should only give the jury a direction on Wilson’s credibility
    [A] is correct.

    Since the defendant is of good character and relies on his pre-trial explanations given in interview, the judge should give him the full good character direction.
  2. Cheryl Barnard and Chris Sandwell are being tried for burglary. Barnard has unspent convictions for theft, robbery and possession of controlled drugs. Sandwell has one spent conviction, from 1986, for driving without insurance. Counsel for Sandwell wants to put him forward as a man of good character.

    Which one of the following statements is CORRECT?

    [A] Sandwell cannot be put forward as a man of good character because he is being tried alongside someone of bad character.

    [B] Sandwell cannot be put forward as a man of good character because he has a previous conviction.

    [C] The trial judge may allow Sandwell to put himself forward as a man of good character, provided that the jury are not misled about his past.

    [D] Sandwell is entitled as of right to put himself forward as a man of good character.
    [C] The trial judge may allow Sandwell to put himself forward as a man of good character, provided that the jury are not misled about his past.

    CORRECT: the trial judge has a discretion to allow Sandwell to put himself forward as a man of good character.
  3. Which one of the following is NOT a ‘gateway’ through which evidence of a defendant’s bad character can be adduced?

    [A] Where all parties agree to the evidence being admissible.

    [B] Where he/she is guilty of misconduct during the investigation of the offence.

    [C] Where the evidence is necessary to correct a false impression given by him/her.

    [D] Where he/she has made an attack on another person’s character.
    [B] Where he/she is guilty of misconduct during the investigation of the offence.

    This is an incorrect statement and therefore the CORRECT answer – there is no corresponding gateway in section 101
  4. Which one of the following statements, regarding evidence of a nondefendant’s bad character, is WRONG?

    [A] The court’s leave to adduce the evidence is not required where all parties to the proceedings agree to it being admissible.

    [B] The court’s leave to adduce the evidence is required where it is claimed that it has substantial probative value.

    [C] When assessing the probative value of ‘important explanatory evidence’ the court may have regard to the time when the events or things are alleged to have happened or existed.

    [D] Evidence is ‘important explanatory evidence’ if, inter alia, its value for understanding the case as a whole is substantial.
    [C] When assessing the probative value of ‘important explanatory evidence’ the court may have regard to the time when the events or things are alleged to have happened or existed.

    This is an incorrect statement therefore the CORRECT answer – see s100 (3)
  5. What does it mean to be of 'good character'?
    No previous convictions or cautions.

    [Positive good character goes beyond this]
  6. What is a Vye Direction and when is it given?
    A direction of good character given by the judge which states that the accused has no prior convictions or cautions.

    It is given by the judge to the jury when summing up.
  7. What is a Nye Direction?
    Where the accused does have a criminal record but the court thinks isn't relevant.

    Judge directs the jury to treat the defendant as having good character.

    60 year old accused of assault. Had a caution when he was 15 for shop lifting.
  8. What is bad character?
    s.98 of CJA 2003

    Evidence of or a disposition towards misconduct

    Not related to the offence he is being charged with
  9. How do you get the defendant's bad character to be admissible?
    Under on of the gateways in s. 101 of CJA 2003:

    (a)all parties to the proceedings agree to the evidence being admissible,

    (b)the evidence is adduced by the defendant himself or is given in answer to a question asked by him in cross-examination and intended to elicit it,

    (c)it is important explanatory evidence,

    (d)it is relevant to an important matter in issue between the defendant and the prosecution,

    (e)it has substantial probative value in relation to an important matter in issue between the defendant and a co-defendant,

    (f)it is evidence to correct a false impression given by the defendant, or

    (g)the defendant has made an attack on another person’s character.
  10. Is the bad character of a non-defendant admissible?
    Yes, but here are fewer gateways.

    s. 100 CJA 2003:

    a)it is important explanatory evidence,

    (b)it has substantial probative value in relation to a matter which—

    (i)is a matter in issue in the proceedings, and(ii)is of substantial importance in the context of the case as a whole,or

    (c)all parties to the proceedings agree to the evidence being admissible.

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