Statements Against Interest Exception

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General Principles

See also: Traditional Exceptions to Hearsay

The exception to hearsay includes admission that "in the broad sense refers to any statement made by a declarant and tendered as evidnece at trial by the opposing party".[1]

Statements by Accused
A statement made by the accused is admissible as an exception to the hearsay rule where the probative value outweighs the prejudicial effect.[2]

Where a statement fits into the category of admission against interest, it becomes preemptively admissible.[3]

There is some debate on whether an admission by the accused is hearsay at all.[4]

These statements can be admitted without analysis of necessity and reliability.[5]

Statements by the accused addressed to his wife will be admissible against him.[6]

Statements by a Third Party
A statement can only be binding against the party who made them. Thus, a out-of-court statement can only be admissible in a trial against the person who made them.[7]

A statement of a third party admitting to the murder cannot be used in the murder trial of another person. The defence would have to call that third party as a witness.[8]

Statements by Co-Accused
Out-of-Court statements made by the co-accused are hearsay and cannot be used as corroborative evidence at trial of the accused.[9] Should the evidence be accepted as against the co-accused, limiting instructions are required to prevent its use against the accused.[10]

Corporate Accused
Statements made by an agent of an organization that is within his scope of authority to a third person is admissible against their interests where the statement is part of a communciation which the agent is authorized to have with the third party.[11]

  1. R v Violette, 2008 BCSC 422 (CanLII), [2008] BCJ No 2781 at paras 63 to 65 - in context of Wiretaps
  2. R v Terry, 1996 CanLII 199 (SCC), [1996] 2 SCR 207 at para 28, per McLachlin J. (“an admission against interest made by the accused is admissible as a recognized exception to the hearsay rule, provided that its probative value outweighs its prejudicial effect.”)
  3. R v Ciancio, 2007 BCSC 777 (CanLII) at para 24 citing Sopinka on Evidence
  4. e.g. R v Evans, 1993 CanLII 86 (SCC), [1993] 3 SCR 653 per Sopinka J. at para 24
    R v Ciancio, supra at paras 15 to 36
  5. R v Foreman, 2002 CanLII 6305 (ON CA), (2002), 169 CCC (3d) 489 (Ont. C.A.) at p. 502
  6. R v R.R.W. (No. 2), 2010 NLTD 137 (CanLII)
  7. R v Abu-Sharife, 2006 BCSC 902 (CanLII) at para 29
  8. R v Yu, 2000 BCCA 626 (CanLII)
  9. R v Rhyno, 2011 NSCA 78 (CanLII) at para 5
  10. Rhyno, ibid. at para 7
    R v Ward at paras 32-38
  11. R v Strand Electric Ltd, [1969] 1 OR 1990, 1968 CanLII 421 (ON CA), OJ 1291 (ONCA)
    R v Petro Canada, 2007 ONCJ 669(*no CanLII links)
    R v Dana Canada Corp., 2008 ONCJ 644 (CanLII), [2008] OJ 4487 (ONCJ)
    R v Syncrude, 2010 ABPC 123 (CanLII)