Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Exercise of right to silence on arrest cannot be led against credibility of accused

R. v. Duong, 2014 ONCA 375:

[54]       I agree. It was open to the trial judge to reject the appellant's explanation given at trial because it was not believable and to use that finding in assessing his credibility. However, here the trial judge used the appellant's silence when he was first arrested as one basis for finding him incredible and ultimately rejecting his testimony.  This, he was not entitled to do.

[55]       The appellant had a constitutional right to remain silent. The use of his silence at the time of his arrest as a basis upon which to reject his trial testimony is offensive to the fundamental right to silence. It can only be characterized as a serious error in law.  See: R. v. Ricketts, 2010 ONCA 820, at para. 7.

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