Thursday, February 7, 2013

Recognition cases

Regina v. Spatola [1970] 3 O.R. 74-84 (C.A.) is an older case with a useful comment regarding recognition evidence:

Bare recognition unsupported by reference to distinguishing marks, and standing alone, is a risky foundation for conviction even when made by a witness who has seen or met the accused before. Of course, the extent of their previous acquaintanceship must have a very important bearing on the cogency of the identification evidence, as will the circumstances in which the alleged recognition occurred. Where some distinguishing marks are noticed and later verified, there is a strengthening of credibility according to the nature of such marks. But the initial issue of the caution with which identification evidence must be received, particularly where it is the unsupported evidence of one witness… .

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