Clients who for the first time in their life find themselves accused of a serious crime often ask whether their good character can be used in court to show that they are good people and couldn’t have done the crime.
The short answer is yes.
The short answer is yes. The fact that they have not previously been involved with police can be led in court but simply to say only that.
To go further and say that and unblemished character is exculpatory is simply going too far – in a criminal trial much more is required. The character of the complainant or a prosecution witness can also be raised – for the defence case – it will be bad character such as the fact that they have had dealings with police, have been arrested or even imprisoned.
The Golden Rule of the defence
The Golden Rule is that defence should not impugn the character of the other side’s witness if the accused had previously any trouble with the police or indeed any other authority.
It goes without saying that a decision to raise accused good character and/or to raise a prosecution witness bad character is a forensic decision by defence counsel taken on a case-by-case basis.