Bad Character – Evidence to Correct a False Impression – R v Fender [2018] EWCA Crim 2829

The case related to a false impression given by a Defendant and whether the prosecution were entitled to call evidence to correct it . The prosecution alleged conspiracy to sell prohibited weapons and said the appellant had been present in order to purchase weapons. He accepted presence but only to buy drugs, he explained pictures of firearms on his phone saying he had no interest in weapons and did not know he had the images. He said he didn’t like gangs .

The prosecution argued that he had sought to, falsely, portray himself as a peace-loving man with a profound distaste of guns whose criminal activity was limited to low level cannabis dealing. The judge admitted evidence of some of his convictions, evidence of gang association and photos of the appellant holding large sums of money, also found on his phone. He concluded that the evidence given by the Defendant went beyond mere denial.

Held: The Crown was entitled, prime facie, to call rebuttal evidence as a false impression was conveyed. The convictions for dishonesty and violence were relevant to the issue of credibility. The report of the PC was admissible, but the argument was more about the use to which the contents of such report can subsequently be put. The officer was not called to give evidence and parts of the report were put to the appellant, the judge expressly contemplated the limits of what he considered necessary to refute the false impression and also contemplated the possibility of the defendant having the right to call additional evidence to rebut the Crown’s rebuttal evidence.

Categories: Caselaw

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