Friday, June 7, 2013

Evidence of alcoholism is akin to that of bad character and ought not to be admitted without a voir dire

R. v. G.S., 2013 NUCA 5 holds evidence of alcoholism is akin to that of bad character and ought not to be admitted without a voir dire:

[33]        As held in R v Rockey, 1995 CanLII 3503 (ON CA), [1995] SCCA No 288, 99 CCC (3d) 31 [Rockey], the failure of the Trial Judge to hold a voir dire to determine the admissibility of the drinking history of the appellant was an error of law. The proper approach is to determine what the right conclusion of law would have been. If the conclusion is the evidence would have been admitted then the error had no effect on the verdict. If the Court determines that the evidence should not have been admitted then it must consider s. 686 (1)(b)(iii) and trace the effect of the evidence and its effect on the verdict.


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