When there are previous convictions which are spent, it is not possible to refer to the defendant as a person of good character. It is however possible for a modified direction to be given to the effect that the defendant has no previous convictions which are relevant to the charge which is before the jury: ‘ It is entirely a question for the discretion of the judge. It may well be that the past spent conviction happened when the defendant being tried was a juvenile, for instance for stealing apples, a conviction of many years before. In those circumstances quite plainly a trial judge would rule that such a person ought to be permitted to present himself as a man of good character. At the other end of the scale, if a defendant is a man who has been convicted of some offence of violence and his conviction has only just been spent and the offence for which he is then standing trial involves some violence, then it would be plain that a trial judge would rule that it would not be right for such a person to present himself as a man of good character. The essence of this matter is that the jury must not be misled and no lie must be told to them about this matter. The exercise of the discretion of the trial judge in the cases which fall between the two extremes referred to must be carried out having regard to the 1974 Act and, to the Practice Direction. It should be exercised, so far as it can be, favourably towards the accused person’
 75 Cr App Rep 247
England and Wales
Cited – Regina v Gellatly, JR CACD 22-Jul-1997
The defendant appealed against convictions for rape, attempted rape and indecent assault against the daughters of his partner. The allegations were that serious sexual assaults had been repeated over several years. The defendant denied them . .
Cited – Thomas v Commissioner of Police for Metropolis CA 28-Nov-1996
In an action for damages and false imprisonment, the defendant police officers sought to have introduced the claimant’s previous criminal record, which was expired under the 1974 Act.
Held: The judge had been correct not to follow practice in . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 09 May 2022; Ref: scu.187264