Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Supreme Court of Canada halts use of expert opinions

Here's an amazing story from the Globe and Mail.

"… He said that Canadian courts had in effect been “contracting out” questions of guilt or innocence to experts. From here on, though, “any time ‘experiential’ evidence points the finger directly at the accused, that’s going to be offside. It’s not just drug cases – it’s any serious case …"

"… Ben Berger, a criminal-law specialist at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, said the ruling is an attempt by the court to rein in expert witnesses, part of a trend since Ontario’s 2008 Goudge inquiry into more than a dozen wrongful convictions in baby deaths, stemming from the testimony of disgraced Toronto pathologist Charles Smith.

The Supreme Court found that “police experience on its own is something that has to be looked at with suspicion and a critical eye,” Prof. Berger said. “That’s important not just in a drug setting but in pretty much any criminal investigatory setting ...”

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