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Defendant's Good Character Notes

BPTC Law Notes > Criminal Evidence Notes

Updates Available  

A more recent version of these Defendant's Good Character notes – written by City Law School students – is available here.

The following is a more accessble plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our Criminal Evidence Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:

DEFENDANT'S GOOD CHARACTER 2 forms of good character evidence:

1. Relating to issue - likelihood that Defendant committed the offence

2. Relating to credibility - likelihood that Defendant is telling the truth 2 methods for adducing good character evidence:

1. Calling Witnesses to testify to Defendant's good character,

2. Adducing evidence from Prosecution Witnesses in Cross-examination 2 limbs of Vye Direction

1. Direction on relevance of Defendant's good character to credibility


only required where Defendant gives evidence or Prosecution adduce evidence of "mixed statement" by Defendant in police interview

2. Direction on relevance of Defendant's good character to likelihood Defendant committed the offence


required in all cases where Defendant of Good Character.

Admissible Character Evidence Rule: must be given in form of evidence of general reputation Not of specific good deeds or Witness's personal opinion Raising the Issue of "Good Character" It is for the Defence (not Judge) to raise the issue of Defendant's Good Character distinctly by giving/calling evidence or eliciting from Prosecution Witness in Cross-examination Part of Defence counsel's duty to ensure Good Character direction given when Defendant entitled to it.


If fail to do this - conviction may be "unsafe"


ie. where ineptitude so extreme constitutes a denial of due process to Defendant

Consequences of Defence Adducing Good Character Evidence Defendant Witnesses called - Prosecution may cross-examine to elicit bad character evidence Introduces evidence of Good Character - Prosecution may call evidence in rebuttal If, by calling evidence/Witness, Court considers Defendant is responsible for assertion which "created a false impression" (s101(1)(f), s105 CJA 2003) - Bad Character admissible if goes no further than necessary to correct the false impression

Buy the full version of these notes or essay plans and more in our Criminal Evidence Notes.