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GOOD CHARACTER DIRECTIONS IN CRIMINAL TRIALS: AN EXERCISE IN CONTAINMENT

  • Roderick Munday

Extract

IN criminal trials, just as a bad character may count against an accused, so a good character may operate in an accused's favour. It was settled by the Court of Appeal in Vye [1993] 1 W.L.R. 471 and by the House of Lords in Aziz [1996] A.C. 41 that any accused who possesses a good character becomes thereby entitled to a mandatory direction (known as a “Vye direction”) in the summing-up. The trial judge is required to instruct jurors that the accused's good character is potentially of dual significance when they come to assess both (1) the credibility of an accused who has testified or who has made admissible, exculpatory pre-trial statements and (2) the likelihood of the accused's having committed the offence(s) charged. But matters do not stop there.

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Corresponding author

Peterhouse, Cambridge, CB2 1RD, UK. Email: rjm1000@cam.ac.uk

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GOOD CHARACTER DIRECTIONS IN CRIMINAL TRIALS: AN EXERCISE IN CONTAINMENT

  • Roderick Munday

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