Regina v Thompson and others: CACD 1995

The court considered the circumstances under which an accused could call in aid the convictions of a co-defendant:
Held: It was fundamental that it is not normally relevant to enquire into a defendant’s previous character or to ask questions which tend to show that he has previously committed some criminal offence. A defendant is always entitled to call evidence of his own good character or other evidence ‘in disproof of his own guilt’ of the offence charged against him. The test is whether the evidence is relevant or not to the question of guilt. The evidence was relevant ‘if it tended to show that the version of the facts put forward by one co-accused was more probable than that put forward by the other’ When there is more than one defendant, the test of relevance must be applied strictly to avoid prejudice to a co-defendant.


Evans LJ


[1995] 2 Cr App Rep 589


England and Wales


CitedLowery v The Queen PC 1974
(Victoria) A young girl was sadistically murdered. The two accused, were present and the crime was committed by one or the other, or both. Each brought evidence of the unlikelihood that he could have committed the murder. L emphasised his good . .
CitedRegina v Miller 1952
The fact that a defendant has previous convictions is not normally relevant: ‘The fundamental principle, equally applicable to any question that is asked by the defence as to any question that is asked by the prosecution, is that it is not normally . .
CitedRegina v Bracewell CACD 1978
When there is more than one defendant in a case, the test of the relevance of an accused’s previous convictions before their admission into evidence, must be strictly applied ‘for if irrelevant and therefore inadmissible evidence is admitted, the . .

Cited by:

CitedRegina v Randall (EP) CACD 21-Feb-2003
The defendant had been a co-accused on a charge of murder. He appealed saying the judge had incorrectly directed the jury on the relevance of his co-accused’s previous convictions for violence.
Held: The appeal was allowed. He should have been . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Evidence, Criminal Practice

Updated: 22 May 2022; Ref: scu.189886