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Evidence of controlling and domineering character was properly admitted in murder trial

By: Hannah Godfrey BL

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Court of Appeal dismisses appeal against conviction for murder, on the grounds that: (a) the defence had made a decision to cross-examine a prosecution witness in order that the jury would hear her view that the appellant was a 'gentle giant' and views helpful to the appellant, so where the prosecution had evidence that the appellant was instead controlling and domineering, they were entitled to put that evidence before the jury; and (b) the criticisms of the trial judge’s charge in relation to provocation were not criticisms of substance.

Appeal against conviction for murder - deceased had been in a relationship with the appellant for a short period before her death - cause of death was found to be combination of stab wounds and smoke inhaled from a fire started - appellant had pleaded guilty to manslaughter only - evidence adduced on his behalf that he was a 'gentle giant' and a good neighbour - on this basis, prosecution allowed to adduce evidence from an ex-girlfriend as to his possessive nature - claim by appellant that he was entitled to rely on defence of provocation - whether evidence of the bad character of the appellant ought to have been adduced - whether the trial judge’s charge, particularly when dealing with the issue of provocation, was deficient.

Note: This is intended to be a fair and accurate report of a decision made public by a court of law. Any errors should be notified to the editor and will be dealt with accordingly.

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