What is the court’s approach to assessing credibility in cases where there are significantly different versions of the events?

British Columbia, Canada


The following excerpt is from Prince George (City) v. Geisser, 2015 BCSC 697 (CanLII):

In Bradshaw v. Stenner, 2010 BCSC 1398 at para. 186, aff’d 2012 BCCA 296, leave to appeal to S.C.C. refused, 35006 (March 7, 2013), [2012] S.C.C.A. No. 392, Madam Justice Dillon provided a useful summary of the principles governing the court’s approach to assessing the evidence where there are significantly different versions of events advanced by the parties. The assessment of a witness’ credibility includes the examination of: • the trustworthiness of a witness’ testimony based upon the veracity or sincerity of a witness and the accuracy of the evidence that the witness provides; • various factors such as the ability and opportunity to observe events, the firmness of memory, the ability to resist the influence of interest to modify recollection and whether the witness’ evidence harmonizes with independent evidence that has been accepted; • whether the witness changes his testimony during direct and cross-examination; • whether the testimony seems unreasonable, impossible or unlikely; • whether a witness has a motive to lie; and • the demeanour of a witness generally.

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