Jackson v HM Advocate

Solemn procedure – Prejudicial evidence – Fairness of trial. High Court of Justiciary: Refusing an appeal by an appellant who was convicted of the murder of his former girlfriend, who argued that the prejudicial nature of remarks about his character by his ex-wife during cross-examination by defence counsel was such that the trial judge had erred in considering that the matter should be dealt with by way of an appropriate direction to the jury and refusing a motion to desert the trial diet, the court held that there was an onus on defence representatives to take care when framing questions which might be seen, particularly by the witness, as pressing a point too far; in spite of the obvious dangers counsel maintained his line and the consequences in such circumstances could rarely be a desertion of the diet: the trial judge reached a balanced and reasoned decision based on all of the relevant factors and the subsequent directions following the witness's outbursts, which were repeated in the charge, were adequate to meet any potential prejudice to the appellant.

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