Thursday, September 12, 2013

A trial judge may, but not must, consider a video of a crime to identify an accused

R. v. Rae, 2013 ONCA 556:

[5]          The appellant also submits that the trial judge, who saw the appellant in court throughout the trial and viewed the convenience store video, erred by not expressing his own opinion about the reliability of the identification evidence.

[6]          We disagree.  The leading case in this area, R. v. Nikolovski, [1996] 3 S.C.R. 1197, permits, but does not require, a trial judge to make observations along these lines.  In the present case, the trial judge was entitled to rely on the strong identification evidence of the two witnesses, without supplementing it with his own opinion based on his viewing of the video and comparison with the appellant’s appearance in the courtroom.

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