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ASSESSING CREDIBILITY

R. v. D.F.M., 2008 NSSC 312


per Justice John D. Murphy


[11]         In R. v. Ross, 2006 N.S.P.C. 20, Judge MacDonald outlined at para.6 considerations which are helpful when assessing credibility of witnesses to determine where the truth is to be found.  Paraphrasing his comments, they include  the


attitude and demeanor of the witness,


the existence of prior inconsistent statements or previous occasions where the witness was not truthful,


external consistency of the evidence (whether it is consistent with independent evidence accepted by the Court),


the internal consistency of the testimony,


whether witnesses have a motive to lie or to mislead the Court,


and the ability of a witness who observed events to record them in memory.  


Finally, Judge MacDonald indicated that it is most important that the trier of fact be concerned with the sense of the evidence, whether common sense when applied to the testimony of the witness suggests the evidence is impossible, improbable,  or unlikely, and what other results may arise when common sense is applied to the evidence.


Jim O'Neil, LL.B.

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