Written questions and answers

Written questions allow Members of Parliament to ask government ministers for information on the work, policy and activities of government departments.

Historical written answers can be found in Hansard.

Find the latest written questions and answers for the 2019-21 session below. We welcome your feedback on this service.

Show
by:
Find by:
Close

UIN

Unique Identifying Number – Every written question in the House of Commons has a UIN per Parliament. In the House of Lords each written questions has a UIN per parliamentary session.
Showing 1-1 out of 1
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100
Expand all answers
Print selected
Q
(South Shields)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 03 July 2020
Ministry of Justice
Sexual Offences: Trials
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what his Department's policy in on the use of character witnesses during trials for (a) victims and (b) perpetrators of historical sexual abuse.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 08 July 2020

In criminal trials, including of offences of historical sexual abuse, rules of evidence do not permit the Crown to call evidence of the good character of a prosecution witness in order to bolster their credibility. The law assumes victims to be truthful and credible, and restricts the ways in which their veracity and credibility can be challenged by the defence; evidence of a victim’s good character is therefore not relevant to what is in issue, and is not admissible.

Defendants also are assumed to be of good character unless there is evidence to the contrary. Where the prosecution does rely on bad character evidence against the defendant (and there are fewer restrictions on the admissibility of evidence of a defendant’s alleged bad character than there are in relation to a witness’ bad character), then character evidence might be relevant to contradict it.

Expand all answers
Print selected
Showing 1-1 out of 1
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100