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character


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N. (in the law of evidence)

1 The reputation of a party or witness. Evidence of the reputation for truthfulness of a witness may be given in both civil and criminal cases. However, in civil cases the reputation of a party is not admissible unless it is directly in issue, as it may be in an action for defamation. In criminal cases the accused may call evidence of his good character and in certain circumstances may be entitled to a good character direction. The Criminal Justice Act 2003 abolished most of the existing rules on evidence of bad character, introducing new restrictions on raising the bad character of witnesses and permitting wider reference to a defendant's bad character. The Act provides that evidence of the defendant's bad character (which includes, but is not limited to, his previous convictions) is only admissible if: all parties to the proceedings agree to the evidence being admissible; the evidence is adduced by the defendant himself or is given in answer to a question asked by him in cross-examination and intended to elicit it; it is important explanatory evidence; it is relevant to an important matter in issue between the defendant and the prosecution; it has substantial probative value in relation to an important matter in issue between the defendant and a co-defendant; it is evidence to correct a false impression given by the defendant; the defendant has made an attack on another person's character.See also antecedents.

all parties to the proceedings agree to the evidence being admissible;

the evidence is adduced by the defendant himself or is given in answer to a question asked by him in cross-examination and intended to elicit it;

it is important explanatory evidence;

it is relevant to an important matter in issue between the defendant and the prosecution;

it has substantial probative value in relation to an important matter in issue between the defendant and a co-defendant;

it is evidence to correct a false impression given by the defendant;

the defendant has made an attack on another person's character.

2 Loosely, the disposition of a party.

Subjects: Law.


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