The Court of Appeal today gave Judgment in the appeal of Mr David Tweed.
Mr Tweed faced 14 counts of historic sexual offences allegedly committed against two complainants. Mr Tweed maintained his innocence throughout. He was convicted of 13 of the 14 counts against him. He served just under 4 years of an 8 year sentence.
During his lengthy trial at Antrim Crown Court in 2012, the Prosecution sought to admit evidence of Bad Character, namely an alleged history of domestic violence, as important explanatory evidence to explain the delay in the complainants coming forward to police.
Speaking outside the Court of Appeal, Mr Tweed’s Solicitor Aine McCartney of Madden & Finucane Solicitors, Belfast, said today:
“The Court of Appeal stipulated that seeking to admit Bad Character under this gateway should be used sparingly. They also underpinned the importance of laying down firm limits of the extent of the evidence and how its admission should be explained to the Jury.
“This is an important landmark judgement on the often contentious issue of Bad Character evidence and deals with how this should be approached by the Courts.
“Cases of this nature are often distressing for all parties involved and Mr Tweed is grateful to the Court for overturning his conviction and is relieved to be moving on with his life.
“Importantly, the Court of Appeal made no order for a retrial however the decision ultimately lies with the Public Prosecution Service.”