Thompson v Director of Public Prosecutions: HL 1918

The defendant was charged with gross indecency against boys. The defendant denied that he was the offender. Evidence was admitted that on arrest the defendant was in possession of powder puffs and that a search of his rooms uncovered indecent photographs of boys.
Held: The evidence was admissible on the issue of the identity of the offender.
Lord Sumner stated that while proof of guilt of a particular crime does not arise from proof of a general disposition to commit that crime, evidence was admissible to prove guilty knowledge or intent or a system or to rebut an appearance of innocence. However, the prosecution may not credit the accused with fancy defences in order to rebut them at the outset with some damning piece of prejudice.


Lord Sumner


[1918] AC 221, (1918) 13 Cr App R 61


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedRegina v Straffen CCA 20-Aug-1952
The defendant had been arrested for murders of young girls, but after being found unfit to plead, he was committed to Broadmoor. While he escaped another girl was murdered, and he was charged. The prosecutor sought to bring in evidence of admissions . .
CitedRegina v Wright and Ormerod CACD 1990
The defendants were charged with indecent assault on a child of 5, who said that the defendants had hurt her in the back and said naughty things to her. The Judge also admitted evidence from the child’s mother of the complaint the child had made to . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Evidence

Updated: 16 May 2022; Ref: scu.214193