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Top Five 2012: R v DAI

Each year at OJEN’s Toronto Summer Law Institute, a judge from the Court of Appeal for Ontario identifies five cases that are of significance in the educational setting. This summary, based on these comments and observations, is appropriate for discussion and debate in the classroom setting.

R v DAI, 2012 SCC 5

In this case, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) examined what criteria courts should consider when deciding whether individuals with intellectual disabilities are competent to testify or submit evidence in court. Per the SCC’s interpretation of the Canada Evidence Act (“Act”), an adult witness with intellectual disabilities can testify provided they can communicate the evidence and promise to tell the truth.  In particular, a witness’ mere articulation that they promise to tell the truth is sufficient. A judge does not need to consider whether the witness understands abstract concepts about what a duty to tell the truth entails.  The full decision is available here.


Date Produced: 2012

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