Saturday, September 13, 2014

Accused not to be disbelieved merely because they want to be acquitted

R v DeJeage: 2014 NUCJ 21

(i). The Defendant's motivation to lie

[434] In arriving at a decision on the credibility and reliability of the evidence of the Defendant, the Crown urges the Court to take into consideration the Defendant's motivation to lie. The Crown argues that the Defendant will be inclined to hide from the truth in order to escape the personal consequences that would flow from a conviction and or sentencing.

[435] This same argument might be made of any citizen who is charged with a criminal offence. The Crown would have this Court automatically discount a Defendant's testimony because he or she is charged and is therefore presumed to be seeking to avoid punishment for a crime or crimes that he or she has committed.

[436] This Court emphatically repudiates this argument. Such an approach, if accepted, would undermine the presumption of innocence that has been the philosophical cornerstone of the criminal justice system for hundreds of years. The presumption of innocence must be the starting point of the Court's deliberations. Nothing less will suffice.

1 comment:

Laurent said...

It would appear that our current Federal government would like to do away with presumption of innocence.
Baird suggests that any Canadian committing an act of terror should be automatically stripped of citizenship. Good in a political speech or tweet going for the populist punch. Bad for society, because presumption of innocence disappears. More and more the entire platform of the Harper Regime is one of ham fisted law and order, let the punishment fit the crime approach. The Harper base loves this approach and it is scary to think that more than a few people think this is the way to go.