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R v Lyttle, 2004 SCC 5 (Link)

Facts:

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.

Issue(s):

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

Ratio:

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

Analysis:

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.

Holding:

Appeal allowed in favour of Lyttle.


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