Admission of bad character to correct false impression or counter an attack
Admission of bad character to correct false impression or counter an attack

The following Corporate Crime guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Admission of bad character to correct false impression or counter an attack
  • Bad character to correct a false impression
  • How does a defendant create a 'false impression'?
  • The scope of gateway F
  • Correcting a false impression
  • Bad character to counter attack on another person's character
  • Meaning of 'attack' on another person's character
  • The scope of gateway G

Bad character to correct a false impression

The Criminal Justice Act 2003 (CJA 2003) permits the admission of evidence of the defendant's bad character for the purposes of correcting a false impression given by a defendant.

The relevant statutory provisions are known as gateway F.

The definition of 'bad character' is set out in CJA 2003. It includes evidence of the defendant's previous convictions.

See Practice Note: Admissibility of defendant's bad character in criminal proceedings.

Only prosecution evidence is admissible under gateway F and, only then, if the evidence has 'probative value'.

An application to adduce evidence of a co-defendant's bad character cannot be made under this gateway but could be made under CJA 2003, s 101(1)(e) (bad character relating to matters in issue between the defendant and co-defendant).

See Practice Note: Bad character adduced by co-defendant.

Evidence admitted under gateway F is only permitted to the extent that it is necessary to correct a 'false impression'. Such evidence cannot be used for any other purpose.

This may be contrasted with the position where evidence of bad character is admitted under another gateway, for example under CJA 2003, s 101(1)(d) (gateway D, to show propensity) or under CJA 2003, s 101(1)(g) (gateway G, to counter an attack on another's character—see below). In these circumstances, the evidence admitted can be used for any other purpose for