Relevance, Social Context and Poverty

(2003) 9 Criminal Reports (6th) 348-353

5 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2016 Last revised: 5 Mar 2016

See all articles by David M Tanovich

David M Tanovich

University of Windsor - Faculty of Law


It is not uncommon in drug importation trials or other cases involving financial gain for the Crown to introduce evidence of the accused's general financial circumstances and then ask the jury to engage in inductive reasoning - to use their common sense to draw the inference that the accused had a motive to commit the offence because he or she was poor. This is what occurred in R v Mensah (2003) 9 Criminal Reports (6th) 339.This case comment explores the dangers of using common sense and experience to guide relevance assessments and why social context evidence is necessary in order to increase the likelihood that informed and reasonable inferences will be drawn from the evidence.

Keywords: Evidence, Inductive Reasoning, Circumstantial Evidence, Criminal Law, Canada, Poverty, Social Context Evidence

Suggested Citation

Tanovich, David M, Relevance, Social Context and Poverty. (2003) 9 Criminal Reports (6th) 348-353. Available at SSRN:

David M Tanovich (Contact Author)

University of Windsor - Faculty of Law ( email )

401 Sunset Avenue
Windsor, Ontario N9B 3P4
519-253-3000 (ext. 2966) (Phone)


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