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Character in the Criminal Trial$
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Mike Redmayne

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199228898

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199228898.001.0001

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Character and Credibility

Character and Credibility

(p.195) 9 Character and Credibility
Character in the Criminal Trial

Mike Redmayne

Oxford University Press

This chapter continues the assessment of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (CJA), focusing on credibility evidence. Prior to the CJA, credibility evidence was governed by section 1(f)(ii) of the Criminal Evidence Act 1898. This allowed a defendant's bad character to be introduced in cross-examination where ‘the nature or conduct of [for example, D's] defence is such as to involve imputations on the character of the prosecutor or the witnesses for the prosecution, or the deceased victim of the alleged crime’. This was ‘tit for tat’: admissibility depended on whether D made an attack of his own on the character of a witness. The CJA retains tit for tat: gateway (g) of section 101 allows evidence of D's bad character to be admitted ‘if the defendant has made an attack on another person's character’. Also significant is gateway (d), which allows evidence of the accused's bad character to be introduced if ‘it is relevant to an important matter in issue between the defendant and the prosecution’. Section 103 explains that the matters in issue between the defendant and the prosecution include ‘the question whether the defendant has a propensity to be untruthful, except where it is not suggested that the defendant's case is untruthful in any respect’. These provisions are the subject of the chapter.

Keywords:   CJA, Criminal Justice Act 2003, criminal law, UK law, credibility evidence, character evidence, defendant

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