What is the test for admissible evidence of a child’s statement to her mother alleging sexual assault?

Saskatchewan, Canada


The following excerpt is from R. v. Shorten, 1918 CanLII 308 (SK CA):

The evidence of the child’s statement to her mother was, in my opinion, admissible. It was made shortly after the occurrence. It was “spontaneous” in the sense indicated by Lord Reading, C.J. in Rex v. Norcott [1917] 1 K.B. 347; 86 L.J. K.B. 78. Nothing more than mild persuasion led to its being made; there is nothing to indicate that it was “put into her mouth by some one else” of was not “her own unvarnished and unassisted story.” The evidence was not inadmissible by reason of the fact that “questions were put to the girl to get her to tell her own story.” Nor does the fact that “the circumstances indicate that but for the questioning there would probably have been no voluntary complaint” justify the exclusion of the evidence as was suggested in Rex v. Osborne [1905] 1 K.B. 551; 74 L.J.K.B. 311, at p. 315.

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