Can a child cross-examine the evidence in chief?

Manitoba, Canada


The following excerpt is from R. v. Thomas (R.J.), 2009 MBCA 85 (CanLII):

36 In Khan, McLachlin J. (as she then was) wrote (at p. 547): In determining the admissibility of the evidence, the judge must have regard to the need to safeguard the interests of the accused. In most cases a right of cross-examination, such as that alluded to in Ares v. Venner, [1970 CanLII 5 (SCC), [1970] S.C.R. 608] would not be available. If the child’s direct evidence in chief is not admissible, it follows that his or her cross-examination would not be admissible either. Where trauma to the child is at issue, there would be little point in sparing the child the need to testify in chief, only to have him or her grilled in cross-examination. While there may be cases where, as a condition of admission, the trial judge thinks it possible and fair in all the circumstances to permit cross-examination of the child as the condition of the reception of a hearsay statement, in most cases the concerns of the accused as to credibility will remain to be addressed by submissions as to the weight to be accorded to the evidence, and submissions as to the quality of any corroborating evidence.

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