Judicial directions

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This article summarises some of the common circumstances in which the judge is expected to give particular directions to witnesses or the jury; failure to give such directions may amount to grounds for an appeal.

Acaster Warning: a witness who is not compellable should be warned before taking the oath that he or she is not required to testify

Direction as to defendant's silence: if the defendant relies on facts at trial that were not revealed when he was originally questioned, the judge should guide the jury on the extent to which they may draw adverse inferences (e.g., RVNickolson1998). If the defendant does not testify at all, then the judge should give a suitably-modified variant of the JSB Direction Where Accused Does Not Testify (R V CowanEtc1996).

LucasDirection: Where the prosecution has alleged that the defendant has told lies, and that it may be inferred from this that the defendant is more likely to be guilty, the judge should warn the jury that there might be innocent explanations for the defendant's untruthfullness

TurnbullDirection: where the indentification of the defendant as the perpetrator is at issue, the judge should warn the jury of the problems associated with identification evidence

V ye Direction: if the defendant has raised evidence of his good character, and he is (legally speaking) of good character, the judge should direct the jury that it is appropriate to take this good character into account when assessing his truthfullness and propensity to commit the offence. The direction need not be given if to do so would be an affront to common sense (R v aziz (1995))

Criminal Law