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Bad character of rape complainant wrongly excluded

A refusal to admit the bad character of an alleged rape victim was the subject for the Court of Appeal in Mohammed Hussain [2015] EWCA 383. The Appellant had been convicted of rape on a re-trial and sentenced to six years imprisonment. The victim had a number of previous convictions but the trial judge refused an application by the defence to adduce them before the jury. This was the single ground of appeal. The Court held that the judge was wrong to refuse the application to adduce the convictions: "the convictions were so numerous, varied and recent that they were of substantial probative value upon the issue of whether her accusation against the appellant was worthy of belief. It was for the jury to judge whether in the particular factual context of the present case her general bad character was of any assistance to them in resolving who was telling the truth". However, they went on to dismiss the appeal on the ground that the conviction was not, in any event, unsafe.


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