Monday, May 13, 2013

Examining witnesses regarding testimony of others

R. v. Singh, 2013 ONCA 315 illustrates the principle that it is improper to ask one witness to comment on the evidence of another and especially as to why another witness would lie in testimony:



[1]          This appeal must be allowed because of Crown's counsel's improper cross-examination of the appellant which rendered the trial unfair. In a sustained fashion, repeated for each of the three co-accused, the Crown cross-examined the appellant about the co-accuseds' motives to fabricate their testimony.


[2]          The trial judge did not deliver an adequate correcting instruction and, in fact, in his summary of the evidence, he reinforced the improper line of questioning by saying that the co-accused had no reason to falsely accuse the appellant.


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