When is evidence of a previous false accusation by a witness admissible?

The above article was lifted from the website of 25 Bedford Row (chambers). Paul Keleher was called to the Bar in 1980 and took silk in 2009, so one would assume he knows what he is talking about, which is just as well because the ground he covers here is extremely difficult for an experienced advocate, much less a juror.

Did you spot the spelling mistake by the way? - “bit to any false accusation”.

Here is the full judgment. As the reader will see, Carl Butler met a teenager alluded to only as AB in Bridlington, on October 20, 1997. Although only 19 and unmarried she was already a mother of two - an obvious red flag - and had what can only be described as a difficult childhood. She was also clearly a HEAD CASE who had a long history of making allegations of a sexual nature against both family members and strangers. Although the Court of Appeal attempts to bolster her credibility, I am not that charitable, most of these allegations were clearly false.

What though is the court to do when a false accuser points the finger at a convicted rapist, when the false accuser doesn’t know the accused is a rapist and when the accused doesn’t know his accuser has falsely accused other men in the past?

That issue did not arise at the trial because with typical dishonesty the CPS did not disclose the previous false allegations, and even if they had, the accused would have been ill-advised to raise them because that would have opened the door to his own appalling character.

There is one other point that should be raised here: Butler received what appears to have been a lenient sentence for his first rape conviction, so why was he treated so leniently after raping another woman and then having sex with an underage girl?


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