Teeluck and John v The State: PC 23 Mar 2005

(Trinidad and Tobago) The defendant appealed against his conviction saying that his defence had been incompetent in having failed to require the judge to give a good character direction to the jury.
Held: The appeal was allowed. Recent cases had set out the law regarding such directions. The direction should always be given if the circumstances required it. It was not for an appellate court to say it would not have made a difference, and it was a positive duty on defence counsel to ask the judge to give it. The case fell ‘into the exceptional category of those where the omissions of counsel had such an effect on the trial and verdict that it cannot be said with sufficient certainty that the conviction was safe. The prosecution case against John depended entirely on the oral and written confessions attributed to him, the authenticity and reliability of which he strongly contested. His credibility in making his allegations against the police was a crucial issue in the trial. That being so, it was vital for him to have the benefit, to which he was in law entitled, of both limbs of a good character direction from the judge. ‘


Lord Hoffmann, Lord Hope of Craighead, Lord Hutton, Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe, Lord Carswell


[2005] UKPC 14, Times 04-May-2005, [2005] 1 WLR 2421


Bailii, PC


CitedRegina v McCoy CACD 10-Dec-1999
The judge should direct the jury fully about the handicap which the inability to cross-examine the witness placed upon the defence, and possible lines of cross-examination which the appellants had lost: ‘If a statement of a critical witness is to be . .
CitedRegina v Vye etc CACD 7-Apr-1993
Detailed guidance was given on good character directions, as to how and when they should be given, but: ‘Provided that the judge indicates to the jury the two respects in which good character may be relevant, ie credibility and propensity, this . .
CitedRegina v Aziz; Regina v Tosun; Regina v Yorganci HL 16-Jun-1995
The defendant (one of three) relied upon his part exculpatory statement made in interview and did not give evidence. The judge said that his good character was relevant as to his own propensity, and the character of the others was relevant to their . .
CitedRegina v Fulcher CACD 1995
The previous non-accidental injuries sustained by the baby whom F was alleged to have murdered were relevant to show not only that the child, being in pain, was more likely to be fractious, but also how F was likely to react to the child crying. The . .
CitedRegina v Kamar CACD 31-Mar-1999
Where counsel had genuinely omitted to request a good character direction from the judge, and the defendant was entitled to one and did not receive it, the defendant should be acquitted on appeal. It will rarely be possible for a court of appeal to . .
CitedBerry v The Queen PC 15-Jul-1992
(Jamaica) A failure to comply with Jamaica’s own rules on disclosure was a material irregularity. Where credibility is in issue, a good character direction is always relevant. . .
CitedKizza Sealey and Marvin Headley v The State PC 14-Oct-2002
PC (Trinidad and Tobago) The defendant appealed his conviction. He said that his counsel had failed to ensure that the judge should mention the fact that he was of previous good character in defending him.
CitedBarrow v The State PC 23-Mar-1998
(Trinidad and Tobago) If the credibility of a defendant is an issue, a good character direction is always relevant and should be given. However, there is no general duty on a judge to inquire into the issue of the accused’s character if this has not . .
CitedThompson v The Queen PC 16-Feb-1998
(Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) When a defendant is of good character, ie has no convictions of any relevance or significance, he is entitled to the benefit of a good character direction from the judge when summing up to the jury, tailored to fit . .
CitedRegina v Clinton CACD 1993
Where counsel’s conduct is called in question, the general principle requires the court to focus on the impact of the faulty conduct on the trial and result. . .
CitedBally Sheng Balson v The State PC 2-Feb-2005
PC (Dominica) The appellant had been convicted of the murder of his partner and appealed the conviction.
Held: The case did not fall within the case of Anderson, and counsel’s failure was not such as to . .
CitedBoodram v The State PC 10-Apr-2001
(Trinidad and Tobago) On a retrial, the defendant’s counsel only became aware that there had been an earlier trial late in the proceedings, and, when he became aware of it, he did not try to obtain the transcript of the first trial in order to . .

Cited by:

CitedMantoor Ramdhanie and others v The State PC 15-Dec-2005
PC (Trinidad and Tobago) The defendant appealed his conviction, saying he had not been properly able to pur forward his evidence of good character. The judge had prevented the defence putting questions to show a . .
CitedTaylor v The Queen PC 13-Mar-2006
(Jamaica) The defendant appealed against his conviction for murder. He complained that admissions against each other by the co-defendants had been entered in evidence despite his allegations of police mistreatment. The statement was the only . .
CitedSimmons and Another v Regina PC 3-Apr-2006
(Bahamas) The appellants challenged admission of confession statements at their trial. A statement was not to be admitted without proof hat it had not been obtained by oppression.
Held: The defendant would have failed in a submission of no . .
CitedKrishna v The State PC 6-Jul-2011
(Trinidad and Tobago) The applicant appealed against his conviction for murder, complaining as to the way a former co-accused had been allowed to give evidence and the admission of a confession, saying that he had been beaten by police officers.
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Commonwealth, Criminal Practice

Updated: 29 June 2022; Ref: scu.223881