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R v Lyttle, 2004 SCC 5 (Link)


Prosecution for robbery, assault; victim had been beaten by assailants with bats. Victim (V) stated that they were beating him to recover a chain that they mistakenly thought that he had stolen. Accused (A) stated that it was really a bad drug deal. In cross-examination, counsel for A wanted to put the drug deal theory to various witnesses, without presenting any evidence to support the theory.


Can you put suggestions to witnesses even though there is no basis as of yet to support the theory?


Principal limit in cross-examination: Must have a good faith basis for putting suggestions to the witness.


Court noted that:
** 1. Honestly advanced: you cannot put forward assertions you know to be false (cannot mislead a witness or trier of fact).
** 2. Good faith basis: You need a good faith basis for putting an assertion to a witness; you are not obliged to put forward evidence to support those assertions first.


Appeal allowed in favour of Lyttle.

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