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Corbett Revisited: A Fairer Approach to the Admission of an Accused's Criminal Record in Cross-Examination

Criminal Law Quarterly, Vol. 51, 2006

69 Pages Posted: 3 Aug 2006  

Peter Sankoff

University of Alberta - Faculty of Law

Abstract

Following on from the some of the author's earlier research on the use of an accused person's criminal record in cross-examination, this article thoroughly reviews the theoretical rationales and principled application of the discretion created by the Supreme Court of Canada's decision in R. v. Corbett, [1988] 1 S.C.R. 670 which allows courts to exclude prior criminal convictions when their prejudicial effect outweighs their probative value. The author concludes that the exercise of this discretion has been highly erratic, and proposes a new approach to the admissibility of this evidence, one that recognizes the prejudicial effect of prior convictions, and their proven link to miscarriages of justice.

Keywords: corbett, discretion, evidence, criminal record, prior conviction

Suggested Citation

Sankoff, Peter, Corbett Revisited: A Fairer Approach to the Admission of an Accused's Criminal Record in Cross-Examination. Criminal Law Quarterly, Vol. 51, 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=921150

Peter Sankoff (Contact Author)

University of Alberta - Faculty of Law ( email )

Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2H5
Canada

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