Criminal law, Quebec, Quebec Court of Appeal, Rulings
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Appeal court orders new trial after expert witness changes testimony

The Quebec Court of Appeal set aside the conviction of a second degree murder and ordered a new trial after it found that an expert witness offered a completely different conclusion during cross-examination at a jury trial compared to her written report and testimony she provided during the preliminary inquiry.

In a clear message to expert witnesses, the appeal court held that the forensic scientist, a professional expert witness with 14 years of experience who is often called upon by the Crown to testify, should have at the very least disclosed her new conclusion to Crown counsel or to the police investigator who interviewed her before trial. “The sudden nature of her new testimony is worrisome,” said the three-judge Court of Appeal panel in Gakmakge c. R., 2015 QCCA 314.

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