BAD CHARACTER

[2018] EWHC 984 (Admin) [2018] EWHC 984 (Admin)

A magistrates’ court which purported to exercise its power under the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980 s.142 to reverse a previous decision to admit bad character evidence had erred because that section was only available in the case of an offender and not where a person was charged with an offence. The Administrative Court had jurisdiction to deal with such a matter while criminal proceedings were ongoing, but the instant decision should not be taken as encouragement to challenge interlocutory decisions in criminal proceedings by judicial review.

[2017] EWCA Crim 2383 [2017] EWCA Crim 2383

The appellant’s conviction for wounding with intent was not rendered unsafe by the fact that he was tried in his absence. By absenting himself despite knowing of the trial date, he had waived his right to attend his trial, and he had been represented by competent counsel.

A conviction for sexual assault was quashed where evidence which supported the accused’s belief that his former wife had encouraged her sister to fabricate the allegations had not been before the jury. The fact that the accused’s former wife had not been called as a prosecution witness was irrelevant; the jury should have had opportunity to test that evidence.

[2017] NICA 36 [2017] NICA 36

A minimum term of 10 years’ imprisonment, equating to a determinate sentence of 20 years, imposed in respect of a life sentence following an offender’s conviction for historical offences of rape and indecent assault, was reduced to six years to reflect the principle of totality of sentence. The offender had previously been sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment for similar sexual offences committed close in time to the index offences, which effectively equated to a total sentence before reduction of 32 years.

[2017] UKPC 14 [2017] UKPC 14

The Privy Council dismissed a husband’s appeal against his conviction for the murder of his estranged wife. Evidence of the husband’s past violence towards her showed that he bore her ill-will and had the motive and inclination to attack her. The evidence did not go to his general credibility and was therefore admissible evidence in accordance with Makin v Attorney General of New South Wales [1894] A.C. 57.