• Due to a glitch in the old vBulletin software, some users were "banned" when they tried to change their passwords at the end of February. This does not apply after the site was converted to Xenforo. If you were affected by this, please us viua the Contact us link in the footer.

Should previous convictions be automatically disclosed in jury trials ?


cyberianpan

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 18, 2006
Messages
16,625
Website
www.google.com
In Ireland and the UK previous convictions needn't be disclosed in a case. In short so long as you enter no evidence as to your (good) character, then the Prosecution can't bring up any (bad) character you have

Here's a recent case as an example where a man was accused of burning down his house and killing his children. The highly relevant fact that he had attempted to murder a previous partner was left out.

Mick and Mairead Philpott convicted of manslaughter over Derby house fire | UK news | guardian.co.uk
Derby fire: Mick Philpott, guilty of killing his children, tried to murder previous girlfriend - Telegraph

I'm of the view that all previous convictions should be automatically disclosed - you ?

cYp
 


ShoutingIsLeadership

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 17, 2011
Messages
50,433
In Ireland and the UK previous convictions needn't be disclosed in a case. In short so long as you enter no evidence as to your (good) character, then the Prosecution can't bring up any (bad) character you have

Here's a recent case as an example where a man was accused of burning down his house and killing his children. The highly relevant fact that he had attempted to murder a previous partner was left out.

Mick and Mairead Philpott convicted of manslaughter over Derby house fire | UK news | guardian.co.uk
Derby fire: Mick Philpott, guilty of killing his children, tried to murder previous girlfriend - Telegraph

I'm of the view that all previous convictions should be automatically disclosed - you ?

cYp
No.

Each crime should be investigated in its own right.

The best way to prevent repeat offenders repeating, is to put more resources into deprived areas and to bolster the justive system to ensure crimes are appropriately punished.

Under your system, we would potentially convict people twice for the same crime - i.e. once when caught, and again when it is mentioned at a future trial for a different offence.
 
Last edited:

corporal punishment

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 22, 2010
Messages
2,878
Yes, especially if the defendant is trying to portray themselves as paragons of virtue while having rap sheets as long as a TD's list of expences.
 

Magror14

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 13, 2008
Messages
1,893
No. A trial is designed to decide whether a particular crime was committed not whether the accused has previously committed a crime. Knowledge of the previous crime would make the jury biased against the accused who is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
 

damus

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 28, 2011
Messages
23,661
Yes, and it should also be public information ie, you should be able to do a search to see if someone has any previous criminal convictions.
 

Hewson

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 29, 2009
Messages
8,337
In Ireland and the UK previous convictions needn't be disclosed in a case. In short so long as you enter no evidence as to your (good) character, then the Prosecution can't bring up any (bad) character you have

Here's a recent case as an example where a man was accused of burning down his house and killing his children. The highly relevant fact that he had attempted to murder a previous partner was left out.

Mick and Mairead Philpott convicted of manslaughter over Derby house fire | UK news | guardian.co.uk
Derby fire: Mick Philpott, guilty of killing his children, tried to murder previous girlfriend - Telegraph

I'm of the view that all previous convictions should be automatically disclosed - you ?

cYp
My heart says a resounding 'yes', but my head says no, and there have been trials when a defendant has walked and his previous history has been revealed.

A trial is about deciding on guilt or innocence of the charge as presented and should be based on the evidence for or against.

Should we use a person's sexual history to discredit them during a rape trial?
 

Asparagus

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 7, 2010
Messages
4,882
No.

Each crime should be investigated in its own right.

The best way to prevent repeat offenders repeating, is to put more resources into deprived areas and to bolster the justive system to ensure criems are appropriately punished.

Under your system, we would potentially convict people twice for the same crime - i.e. once when caught, and again when it is mentioned at a future trial for a different offence.
Then character references should be excluded too.

Lets pour more money into deprived areas? Are u off your head? A/ we have no money b/ it gets p!ssd away in deprived areas. C/ have you any idea how much we lose to ineffective crime punishment and even more ineffective crime prevention.

Lets spend less, fine more, make incarceration harder and decency rewarded.
Game mechanics.

And print your conviction record, it's very relevant.
 

NewGoldDream

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 13, 2004
Messages
20,879
Website
-
Absolutely not. It would be madness. It goes against common sense and every concept of justice, one cannot give a dog a bad name and hang it, each case has to be judged on its merits. The rule has a number of well established exceptions, so it is far from universal. And it is subjected to valid criticism and there have been numerous challenges and papers on it. But as a principle it is very sound.
 

damus

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 28, 2011
Messages
23,661
Then character references should be excluded too.

Lets pour more money into deprived areas? Are u off your head? A/ we have no money b/ it gets p!ssd away in deprived areas. C/ have you any idea how much we lose to ineffective crime punishment and even more ineffective crime prevention.

Lets spend less, fine more, make incarceration harder and decency rewarded.
Game mechanics.

And print your conviction record, it's very relevant.
There's already a load of money that gets pumped in to disadvantaged areas under the RAPID programme.
 
R

Ramps

Re. OP.

Are you sure that past convictions can't be mentioned, say, in cases of those involved in "organised" crime?

I thought convictions could be mentioned if it were part of a "pattern" of criminal behaviour, no?
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2011
Messages
40,631
Then character references should be excluded too.

Lets pour more money into deprived areas? Are u off your head? A/ we have no money b/ it gets p!ssd away in deprived areas. C/ have you any idea how much we lose to ineffective crime punishment and even more ineffective crime prevention.

Lets spend less, fine more, make incarceration harder and decency rewarded.
Game mechanics.

And print your conviction record, it's very relevant.
You haven't much of a clue about this, do you?

The moment that you allow a character reference in defence you are then amenable to the prosecution challenging that - including bringing up any criminal history you may have.

They're entirely entitled to do that once you have used a character reference.
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2011
Messages
40,631
Re. OP.

Are you sure that past convictions can't be mentioned, say, in cases of those involved in "organised" crime?

I thought convictions could be mentioned if it were part of a "pattern" of criminal behaviour, no?
Only when considering sentencing.
 

freewillie

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 3, 2013
Messages
7,453
Yes, especially if the defendant is trying to portray themselves as paragons of virtue while having rap sheets as long as a TD's list of expences.
If they try that the Prosecution is entitled to bring in their previous convictions.
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2011
Messages
40,631
Which is quite correct.
Yup. The jury should hear nothing other then the evidence pertaining to the case.

I was asked to provide a character reference in a case some years ago.

My solicitor handled it for me.
 

GJG

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 10, 2006
Messages
3,117
Website
blog.hereshow.ie
As well as thinking how this measure would affect the situation as we know it, we should consider what new situation that would arise from such a measure.

We know from the Morris Tribunal that there are very serious problems in the gardaí, including corruption, ineffectiveness and sheer laziness. Gardaí in Waterford were caught falsely entering crimes that they never bothered investigating into the system as 'detected'.

The danger with this is that when crime of type X is committed, the gardaí simply look for the nearest lag with a record for that type of crime, and then work outwards to find one with no solid alibi.

To an extent, that is what happens already, but it is tempered by the need to positively prove that he actually did it, not just to say 'sure, we know it's him'. They are forced to do some police work if they want to get a conviction.

If that was not the case, what would happen when upstanding gardaí hauled the guy before a jury and said he's done X before, X happened again only a couple of streets from where he lives, and surprise surprise, he has no alibi.
 

DuineEile

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 29, 2010
Messages
14,939
The point that a jury is tasked with determining what happened on the occasion in question, and not whether the Defendant has a propensity for crime is absolutely central to a fair justice system.

Previously convicted persons already have enough bias against them, including from Guards looking to fit them up for every crime going, without the jury being biased as well.

It the facts alleged by the prosecution stack up "beyond reasonable doubt", then the person will be convicted. In they don't, then the person shouldn't be convicted irrespective of any previous criminal behaviour.


D
 
R

Ramps

Only when considering sentencing.
From the Criminal Justice (Evidence) Act, 1924:

(f) a person charged and called as a witness in pursuance of this Act shall not be asked, and if asked shall not be required to answer, any question tending to show that he has committed or been convicted of or been charged with any offence other than that wherewith he is then charged, or is of bad character, unless—

(i) the proof that he has committed or been convicted of such other offence is admissible evidence to show that he is guilty of the offence wherewith he is then charged; or

(ii) he has personally or by his advocate asked questions of the witnesses for the prosecution with a view to establish his own good character, or has given evidence of his good character, or the nature or conduct of the defence is such as to involve imputations on the character of the prosecutor or the witnesses for the prosecution; or

(iii) he has given evidence against any other person charged with the same offence:

Not 100% per cent sure, but I thought the bit in bold might be relevant. Any thoughts?!
 

New Threads

Popular Threads

Most Replies

Top