Regina v Bovell; Regina v Dowds: CACD 25 Apr 2005

The defendants appealed their convictions. In one case the prosecution had brought evidence of bad character. Bovell was convicted of wounding with intent, pleading self-defence. His legal team later discovered that the complainant had himself been investigated for a similar offence, but the alleged victim had withdrawn the complaint. B argued that, had he known of the allegation, he would have sought to cross examine the complainant upon this incident, since it went directly to the issue of his credibility and, therefore, the safety of the conviction.
Held: The court emphasised the need for parties to comply with the rules on such evidence, and if a previous conviction as to be relied upon, the court should be referred to the basis of plea if that differed from the prosucution’s original basis. Also thought ought to be given to altering the guidance on the preservation of records in the relevant Code of Practice in the light of the provisions in the 2003 Act.
Rose LJ said as to B’s case: ‘It seems to us to be unlikely in the extreme that the judge, had he known of the events in 2001, would have admitted the allegation of a Section 18 offence made against the complainant. We say that, first, because we entertain considerable doubt as to whether the mere making of an allegation is capable of being evidence within Section 100(1). As the allegation was, in the circumstances which we have identified, withdrawn, our doubt on this aspect is increased.
It is apparent from the circumstances, as we have summarised them, that if there was to be any question of the Section 18 allegation being admitted before the jury, it would necessarily have given rise to investigation of the other subsequent matters, including the aspersion on the credibility of the victim, the want of independent confirmation of his account, and the fact that he had withdrawn the allegation. An excursion into these satellite matters is, as it seems to us, precisely the sort of excursion which, as was suggested, in paragraph 12 of the judgment in Hanson, a trial judge should be discouraged from embarking upon. All of this adds to the unlikelihood of the judge permitting evidence of the 2001 events even if they had been known about at trial.’


Rose LJ, Gibbs, Stanley Burnton JJ


Times 13-May-2005, [2005] EWCA Crim 1091




Criminal Justice Act 2003 98ff


England and Wales


CitedRegina v Hanson; Regina v Gilmore; Regina v Pickstone CACD 22-Mar-2005
In each case complaint was made about the way in which the judge had dealt with applications by the Crown to bring in the defendant’s bad character as evidence of his propensity to commit the crime.
Held: The court set out the applicable . .

Cited by:

CitedMiller v Regina CACD 26-May-2010
The defendant appealed against his conviction for possessing drugs with intent to supply. He said that the court should not have allowed the cross-examination of a defence witness as to that witness’ bad character. The witness was on remand facing . .
CitedBraithwaite v Regina CACD 25-May-2010
The defendant appealed against his conviction saying that the court should have allowed him to bring bad character evidence against crown witnesses. There had been a street fight, and substantial evidence was given by associates of the deceased who . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Evidence

Updated: 30 June 2022; Ref: scu.224872