Guidance on answering the questions in the book: Chapter 02

Guidance on answering the questions in the book: Chapter 02

  1. Francis’ defence is mistaken identity. He is unlikely to dispute that the offence occurred and may not even dispute the evidence of Vic’s distress. However,  Edward’s presence at the scene of the crime and his knowledge of Vic’s distressed state cannot be used by Francis to suggest that Edward may have committed the offence: see R v Blastland [1986] AC 41, HL. On the reasoning in R v Blastland, the issue at the trial is whether Francis committed the crime and the fact of Edward’s presence and knowledge of Vic’s distressed state is not a rational basis on which the jury can infer that Edward rather than Francis was the offender. For criticism of R v Blastland, see The Modern Law of Evidence (‘MLE’) 12th ed at pp26-27. The fact that Edward is gay is irrelevant – see (iii) below.
  2. Vic’s evidence is irrelevant to the issue of whether Francis engaged in unlawful sexual activity with him. Insofar as it can be said to be relevant to Vic’s credibility, on the reasoning that his step-father’s guilty plea shows that Vic told the truth about his step-father’s assault on him, it is inadmissible, because evidence to be used solely to bolster credibility amounts to a form of ‘oath-helping’, which is not permitted: see R v T(AB) [2007] 1 Cr App R 43, CA, MLE 12th edn at p27.
  3. This evidence is not relevant to any of the facts in issue. Evidence of Francis’ homosexual disposition does not make it more likely that he is disposed to commit sexual crimes against boys (or men): see Lord Simon’s definition of relevance in DPP v Kilbourne [1973] AC 729 at 756, set out in MLE 12th ed at p24. See also Part 1 of the Crown Court Compendium, 20-1 Sexual offences – The dangers of assumptions, Example 13: ‘It is no more likely that a man who lives with another man has a sexual interest in young boys than it is that a man who lives with a woman will have an interest in young girls. The fact that D is gay is of no significance at all’.
  4. This evidence is not relevant to any of the facts in issue. Evidence of Francis’ interest in pornographic images of adults engaging in lawful sexual activity does not make it more likely that he is disposed to commit sexual crimes against boys (or girls or adults): see DPP v Kilbourne, ibid.
  5. This evidence is relevant to the issue whether Francis committed the crime. Evidence of interest in unlawful sexual activity with boys is evidence of potential disposition to commit sexual crimes against boys: see DPP v Kilbourne, ibid.