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Delayed Prosecution for Childhood Sexual Abuse$
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Penney Lewis

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199282289

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199282289.001.0001

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Multiple Allegations

Multiple Allegations

Chapter:
(p.173) 8 Multiple Allegations
Source:
Delayed Prosecution for Childhood Sexual Abuse
Author(s):

Penney Lewis

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199282289.003.0008

Many CSA cases involve multiple complaints and/or multiple complainants. Rules based on the balance of probative value and prejudicial effect generally govern the admissibility of evidence of any previous acts of CSA (referred to as evidence of similar facts, bad character, prior misconduct or propensity). In the vast majority of trials involving delayed complaints of CSA, any similar facts arise out of multiple allegations rather than previous convictions or misconduct. Jurors may infer from the multiplicity of allegations that the defendant has a propensity to commit CSA offences. Both reasoning and moral prejudice may then influence jurors' decision-making based on this inference of propensity. The reality of multiple delayed charges of CSA and the associated decisions on joinder, severance, and cross-admissibility must be reconciled with the defendant's right to a fair trial, which may be affected by the combination of delay, multiple allegations, and the power of allegations of CSA.

Keywords:   similar fact evidence, bad character, prior misconduct, propensity, joinder and severance, multiple complainants, probative value, prejudicial effect, fair trial

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