EVIDENCE AND THE LITIGATION PROCESS
COURSE CODE: LAW1306
ASSIGNMENT #1 –CASE BRIEF
ADMISSION OF EVIDENCE AS IT RELATES TO HEARSAY AND EXCEPTIONS
SUBMISSION DATE: JULY 14, 2022
- R v Khelawon  SCC 57
- FACTS OF THE CASE
- Mr. Ramnarion Kelawon is the manager of Bloor West Retirement Village which has about 40 elderly persons who needs special care. Therefore, In the year 1999, five residents complained against the manager of the retirement home for assault.
- Joanna Stangrat is a cook as well as assistant at the retirement home. One day she found Mr. Skupien laid in his bed with blood near mouth and several injuries. She saw her clothes packed in garbage bag. Immediately, she took him to some different place away from the retirement place.
- Doctor’s report showed that he got three ribs fractured. Later, she took him to the police station where his statement was videotaped about the incident that took place with him.
- During the time of trial, four complainants died due to old age and the remaining was unable to testify. Mr. Skupien died before trial.
- ISSUE INVOLVED
- Whether the Hearsay statement is admissible?
- The statement made by Mr. Skupien to cook, doctor and police involved hearsay which was presumptively inadmissible. The analysis can be drawn based upon the reasoning given by Charron J. As per basic rule of evidence, all the relevant evidence are admissible in the court. But there are certain exceptions related to this including hearsay as one of them. The term ‘hearsay’ basically means ‘out-of-court statement’ which is adduced to prove the truth of its contents. Thus, it is presumptively inadmissible until it satisfies one of the traditional exceptions to the hearsay rule.
- If it does not satisfy the traditional exceptions, then it must follow the principled approach to find the necessity and reliability depending upon the situation of the case. In case of necessity, it comes into consideration because the person who made the statement is not available to give the statement in the court or has changed the statement. In case of reliability, there should be some trustworthiness in the statement even if it is not made under an oath. Following are two tests applicable here:
- The Threshold Test: This test is related to the relevance and materiality of the case. In the present case, whether the hearsay is reliable?
- The Necessity Test: This test defines that the only way to admit the evidence would be hearsay. Whether the hearsay is necessary in this case?
- Furthermore, the case relied on expert evidence which stated that the injuries suffered by the elderly person could be due to fall or beating. Because four complainants were already died, and the only piece of evidence was videotaped statement. Also, it was mentioned by the experts that the things stated in the video were questionable due to low mental efficiency in old age. This showed the lack of reliability of hearsay.
- Thus, the court held that it did not meet reliability. Hence, hearsay is not admissible.
- Therefore, it can be concluded that the Hearsay evidence is only admissible in the court if it meets the particular exceptions that allows them to be admitted. Hearsay should be of such nature which meets both necessity and reliability relevant to the case to apply the exclusionary rule. Although, the traditional exceptions are relevant, but they must meet the necessity and reliability as important concepts related to the hearsay.
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