Bad character adduced by co-defendant
Bad character adduced by co-defendant

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

  • Bad character adduced by co-defendant
  • The Criminal Justice Act 2003, s 101(1)(e)
  • 'Important matter in issue'
  • 'Substantial probative value'
  • Examples of bad character to prove guilt
  • Bad character to prove untruthfulness
  • 'Nature and conduct of his defence'
  • 'Undermining co-defendant's defence'
  • Meaning of 'untruthfulness'

The Criminal Justice Act 2003, s 101(1)(e)

The Criminal Justice Act 2003 (CJA 2003) permits evidence of a defendant's bad character to be introduced by a co-defendant if the evidence has 'substantial probative' value in respect of an 'important matter in issue' between the defendant and co-defendant.

Only a co-defendant can adduce evidence of bad character under gateway E.

The relevant statutory provisions are known as gateway E.

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

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

If the statutory definition is not satisfied, gateway E will not apply.

In R v Hussain, H submitted on appeal against his conviction for robbery, that the judge's ruling declining to admit evidence of a charge of murder against his co- accused M, had prevented him from developing his defence of duress.

The Court of Appeal held that the judge had been right to conclude that a mere charge, unproved, could not be evidence of bad character, still less could it be bad character itself. Bad character evidence is evidence of something bad done by the person in question in the past.

This approach was followed in R v Hobbs where the trial judge’s refusal to admit evidence of a charge against a co-defendant for conspiracy to rob was upheld on appeal

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