The defence case must begin with the defendant’s evidence if he is choosing to give evidence followed by any witnesses he has. The defendant cannot be forced to give evidence at trial, but if he does not the jury may take this into account when deciding their verdict.
If the defendant gives evidence he will be examined-in-chief by his legal representative and then cross-examined by the prosecution and finally re-examined by his legal representative. A defendant can only be asked about any previous convictions he has in certain circumstances, such as when a judge has decided that they are relevant to the case or when the defendant has attacked another person’s character.
Whether or not the defendant gives evidence, he then rely on other evidence such as witnesses who support the defendant’s account of events, or character witnesses who will speak of their knowledge of the defendant’s character.