law of evidence assignment Essay

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Question 1
Introduction
In law of evidence, a person’s “character” is understood as his propensity or disposition to behave in a certain way. This is different from habit and more like behavioral traits that are more deeply ingrained. “he has a bad character” usually means that he is given to wicked acts, and if one were asked to justify such a statement one would usually refer to incidents of past bad conduct by the person in question. The is however an older meaning to character, namely a person’s reputation. In the school for scandal, for example, the word is constantly used in this way. When the hypocrite Joseph surfaces is discovered trying to seduce lady Teazle, he says that his character is ruined, which shows that until one is
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He may be cross examined upon his misconduct or previous conviction.
b) Cross-examination of character witness
A witness who testifies to accused’s good character may be cross-examined to test the accuracy of his evidence and in England, it has been said he may even be asked whether he is aware of the accused’s previous convictions. In the leading case of R v Winfield the court of criminal appeal went as far as to say that the witness might even be asked about convictions which are irrelevant to whether the accused is likely to have committed the offence charged.
c) Evidence of bad reputation
Although it is most unusual, the prosecution may counter evidence of good character by calling a witness to swear to the accused’s bad character. In R v Rowton the accused was a school master charged with indecent assault on a pupil. He called witnesses to his good character, the prosecution replied by calling a witness who said; “I know nothing of the neighborhood’s opinion but in my opinion and my brothers who were also pupils of his, is that his character is that of a man capable of grossest indecency and the most flagrant immorality”. The conviction was quashed on the ground that the witness’s own opinion was inadmissible.
Previous convictions
Section 211 of the criminal procedure act 1977 states that;
“Except where otherwise

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