Regina v Weir, Somanathan,Yaxley-Lennon, Manister, Qiang He and De Qun He: CACD 11 Nov 2005

The defendant objected to evidence being used as evidence of bad character against him under the 2003 Act, when it would not have been admissible as similar fact evidence under the old rules.
Held: Obiter dicta in O’Brien did not mean that the Act merely codified existing law.The Act made the pre-existing test obsolete. Once having satisfied the test set out in 101(1)(d) and 101(3), the evidence was admissible. Section 100 of the 2003 Act incorporates matters sounding exclusively on issues of credibility: ‘Although couched in different terms from the provisions relating to the introduction of the Defendant’s bad character, in our view Section 100(1) does cover matters of credibility. To find otherwise would mean that there was a significant lacuna in the legislation with the potential for unfairness’.
As to the case of Manister: ‘once it is decided that evidence of the appellant’s sexual relationship with B did not amount to ‘evidence of bad character’, the abolition of the common law rules governing the admissibility of ‘evidence of bad character’ by s.99(1) did not apply. We have no doubt that evidence of the relationship was admissible at common law, in the particular circumstances of this case, because it was relevant to the issue of whether the appellant had a sexual interest in A. It was capable of demonstrating a sexual interest in early or mid teenage girls, much younger than the appellant, and therefore bore on the truth of his case of a purely supportive, asexual interest in A. It was not in our judgment unfair to admit the evidence (see s.78 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984) . . So far as C’s evidence was concerned, the judge did not expressly rule on whether it amounted to evidence of ‘bad character’ for the purposes of the Act, or was simply relevant as part of the background as to what was going on in the sister’s family, involving the appellant. Unattractive as the alleged conversation was, we do not consider that it could safely be judged to amount to reprehensible conduct on the appellant’s part. But his words, with their implied admission of sexual attraction to a 15-year-old C, were again, in our view, clearly relevant to the issue of whether the appellant was sexually attracted to A, and therefore admissible for the same reasons which apply to the sexual relationship with B. It was not unfair to admit C’s evidence.’


Kennedy LJ, Bell, Dobbs JJ


Times 18-Nov-2005, [2005] EWCA Crim 2866, [2006] 1 Cr App R 19, [2006] 1 WLR 1885, [2006] 2 All ER 570, [2006] Crim LR 433




Criminal Justice Act 2003 99 100


England and Wales


CitedO’Brien v Chief Constable of South Wales Police HL 28-Apr-2005
The claimant sought damages against the police, and wanted to bring in evidence of previous misconduct by the officers on a similar fact basis. They had been imprisoned and held for several years based upon admissions which they said they had . .

Cited by:

CitedH, Regina v, (Criminal propensity) CACD 3-Dec-2009
Incomplete Information distorted jury’s picture
The defendant appealed against his conviction for robbery saying that it was a named third party. The jury had been told of his own previous conviction for robbery, but not that the third party had also so been previously convicted. The jury had . .
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 . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Evidence

Updated: 04 July 2022; Ref: scu.236007