Failure to Give Jury Instructions In the Exact Language Requested

In Rivers v. State, 236 Ga. App. 709 (513 S.E.2d 263) (1999), the trial court specifically charged the jury that they could consider similar transaction evidence for the broad purpose "of showing 'the crimes charged in the case.'" Rivers v. State, supra at 712. Our holding in Rivers did not intend to do away with the longstanding principle that a jury charge -- such as the one in the instant case -- which substantially covers applicable principles of law is sufficient: It is a fundamental rule in Georgia that jury instructions must be read and considered as a whole in determining whether the charge contained error. The failure to give requested instructions in the exact language requested, where the charge given substantially covers the same principle, is not grounds for reversal. Walls v. State, 233 Ga. App. 601, 604 (2) (504 S.E.2d 471) (1998); Molaro v. State, 236 Ga. App. 35, 38 (510 S.E.2d 886) (1999); Callaway v. State, 230 Ga. App. 369, 370-371 (496 S.E.2d 349) (1998).