Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Timing and recent invention

A routine case (although the culmination of lengthy proceedings) from the Supreme Court of Canada on the admissibility of a witness's previous consistent statements is R v Ellard [2009] SCC 27 (12 June 2009).

Here, recent invention of testimony was alleged to have occurred as a result of rumours that were circulating. However, here those reasons for fabrication occurred before the relevant consistent statements were made. The statements therefore did not rebut a suggestion that the witness's evidence was influenced by rumours. They were not admissible.

If they had been admissible, a warning would have been required against their being used as evidence of the truth of their contents. Such a warning would not now be required in New Zealand, as the statements would, pursuant to s 35 Evidence Act 2006, go to proof of their contents: R v Barlien (noted here 8 July 2008 and 19 July 2008).

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