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a jury is required to determine under section 4A(2) of the


Criminal Procedure (Insanity) Act 1964 (c. 84) whether a


person charged on an indictment with an offence did the act


or made the omission charged,



evidence of the person’s bad character has been admitted


with leave under section 82B, and



the court is satisfied at any time after the close of the case for


the prosecution that—



the evidence is contaminated, and



the contamination is such that, considering the


importance of the evidence to the case against the


person, a finding that he did the act or made the


omission would be unsafe,



the court must either direct the jury to acquit the defendant


of the offence or, if it considers that there ought to be a


rehearing, discharge the jury.



This section does not prejudice any other power a court may have


to direct a jury to acquit a person of an offence or to discharge a jury.



For the purposes of this section, a person’s evidence is


contaminated where—



as a result of an agreement or understanding between the


person and one or more others, or



as a result of the person being aware of anything alleged by


one or more others who are, or could be, witnesses in the





the evidence is false or misleading in any respect, or is different


from what it would otherwise have been.



Assumption of truth in assessment of probative value



Subject to subsection (2), a reference in this Act to the probative


value of evidence is a reference to its probative value on the


assumption that it is true.



In assessing the probative value of an item of evidence for any


purpose of this Act, a court need not assume that the evidence is


true if it appears, on the basis of any material before the court


(including any evidence it decides to hear on the matter), that no


court or jury could reasonably find it to be true.



Court’s duty to give reasons for rulings



Where the court makes a relevant ruling—



it must state in open court (but in the absence of the jury, if


there is one) its reasons for the ruling;



if it is a magistrates’ court, it must cause the ruling and the


reasons for it to be entered in the register of the court’s




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In this section “relevant ruling” means—



a ruling on whether an item of evidence is admissible only


with leave under section 82B;



a decision whether to give leave under that section;



a ruling under section 82M.



Rules of court



Rules of court may make such provision as appears to the


appropriate authority to be necessary or expedient for the purposes


of this Act; and the appropriate authority is the authority entitled to


make the rules.



The rules may require a party who—



proposes to adduce evidence of a defendant’s bad character


that is admissible only with leave under section 82B, or



proposes to cross-examine a witness with a view to eliciting


such evidence,



to serve on the defendant such notice, and such particulars of or


relating to the evidence, as may be prescribed.



The rules may provide that the court or the defendant may, in such


circumstances as may be prescribed, dispense with a requirement


imposed by virtue of subsection (2).



If a party fails to comply with a requirement that has been imposed


in relation to an item of evidence by virtue of subsection (2) (and not


dispensed with by virtue of subsection (3)) the court may take the


failure into account—



in deciding whether to grant leave under section 82B; and



where leave is given, in considering the exercise of its


powers with respect to costs.



The rules may—



limit the application of any provision of the rules to


prescribed circumstances;



subject any provision of the rules to prescribed exceptions;





make different provision for different cases or





Nothing in this section prejudices the generality of any enactment


conferring power to make rules of court; and no particular


provision of this section prejudices any general provision of it.



In this section—



“prescribed” means prescribed by rules of court;



“rules of court” means—



Crown Court Rules;



Criminal Appeal Rules; and



rules under section 144 of the Magistrates’ Courts


Act 1980 (c. 43).


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82Q        Interpretation



In this Chapter—



“bad character” is to be read in accordance with section 82A;



“criminal proceedings” means criminal proceedings in


relation to which the strict rules of evidence apply;



“defendant” in relation to criminal proceedings, means a


person charged with an offence in those proceedings; and


“co-defendant”, in relation to a defendant, means a person


charged with an offence in the same proceedings;



“misconduct” means—



the commission of an offence, or



behaviour of a kind that, in the opinion of the court,


might be viewed with disapproval by a reasonable





“prejudice”, in relation to an item of evidence and a defendant,


is to be read in accordance with subsection (2);



“probative value” is to be read in accordance with section 82N;



“prosecution evidence” means evidence which is to be (or has


been) adduced by the prosecution, or which a witness is to


be invited to give (or has given) in cross-examination by the





For the purposes of this Act, evidence carries a risk of prejudice to


a defendant where—



there is a risk that the court or jury would attach undue


weight to the evidence, or



the nature of the matters with which the evidence deals is


such as to give rise to a risk that the court or jury would find


the defendant guilty without being satisfied that he was.



Where a defendant is charged with two or more offences in the


same criminal proceedings, this Act has effect as if each offence


were charged in separate proceedings; and references to the offence


with which the defendant is charged are to be read accordingly.


82R Minor and consequential amendments



In section 6 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1865 (c. 18) (witness’s


conviction for offence may be proved if not admitted)—



for “A witness may be” substitute “If, upon a witness being





omit “and upon being so questioned, if”.



In section 1(2) of the Criminal Evidence Act 1898 (c. 36) (restriction


of privilege against self-incrimination where defendant gives


evidence) at the beginning insert “Subject to section 6 of the


Criminal Evidence Act 2001 (inadmissibility of evidence of


defendant’s bad character)”.



In section 16(2) of the Children and Young Persons Act 1963 (c. 37)


(offences committed by person under 14 disregarded for purposes


of evidence relating to previous convictions) for the words from


“notwithstanding” to the end substitute “even though the Criminal


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Justice and Police Act 2001 (c. 16) would not prevent the question


from being asked”.






The common law rules governing the admissibility of evidence of


bad character in criminal proceedings are abolished.



The rules referred to in subsection (1) include any rule under which,


as an exception to the inadmissibility of hearsay evidence, evidence


of a person’s reputation is admissible for the purpose of proving his


character, but only so far as the rule relates to evidence of bad





The following cease to have effect—



section 1(3) of the Criminal Evidence Act 1898 (c. 36) (which


makes provision as to the questions that a defendant may be


asked about his bad character in cross-examination);



section 27(3) of the Theft Act 1968 (c. 60) (admission of


evidence of previous convictions for theft etc to prove that


defendant knew goods to be stolen).””


The Commons disagree to this Amendment for the following Reason


Because they would result in a less satisfactory scheme for dealing with evidence of bad



Clause 90


Leave out Clause 90


The Commons disagree to this Amendment but propose the following Amendment to the


words so restored to the Bill


Page 60, line 37, leave out from beginning to “evidence” in line 2 on page 61 and





“References in this Chapter to evidence of a person’s “bad character” are to


evidence of, or of a disposition towards, misconduct on his part, other



Clause 91


Leave out Clause 91


The Commons disagree to this Amendment for the following Reason


Because they would result in a less satisfactory scheme for dealing with evidence of bad



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