Character provisions of criminal justice act 2003

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Since then, all legal cases involving criminal backgrounds have been governed by the Character Provisions of Criminal Justice Act 2003, which was signed into law in 2005. With the primary goal of assessing the defendant's prior deviance rates and criminal offenses relevant to the case at hand, the provision permits the court of law to review the defendant's criminal history. In criminal proceedings, many judges use this strategy to assess the defendant's bad conduct and character. The conclusions of several cases within the United Kingdom make this clause clear. Some of the cases include R v Highton, Van Nguyen and Carp, R v Phillips and R v Gillespie.

In R v Gillespie, the defendant was on trial for selling counterfeit products and defrauding customers. The defendant argued that he was a victim of a business dupe by an associate. However, the judge decided to authorize the bad character evaluation on the defendant, which proved that the Gillespie’s previous business collapsed from misleading bankers and falsifying invoices. This led to his conviction. In R v Phillips, the defendant pleaded for self-defense after he killed the plaintiff’s family, arguing that they initiated the act. However, previous criminal convictions led to the evaluation of the defendant’s bad and aggressive behavior. In R v Highton, Van Nguyen and Carp, the use of the gateway of admission to a previous crime as sufficient evidence to prove the defendant’s propensity to commit a similar offence was the main approach in which the bad character provision contributed to the conviction.

The proposition that "the judiciary’s interpretation demonstrates a safe, measured approach which seems, at present unlikely to present a significant threat to the rights and liberties of criminal defendants,” is therefore relevant. Previous offenders are highly likely to commit other similar offences and therefore using the bad character principle to evaluate the innocence and guilt of offenders makes the judicial system less impartial and more logical. Nonetheless, at times, the bad character clause can lead to wrong convictions, but is still much better than using mere evidences and statements made by the defendant.

Work Cited

R v Phillips. [2011] EWCA Crim 2935.

R v Gillespie. [2011] EWCA Crim 3152

R v Highton, Van Nguyen and Carp. [2005] EWCA Crim 1985.

July 15, 2023

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