Call now: 1.877.201.9030

Our News

Richard Shekter featured on AdvocateDaily.com: OCA decision contains valuable lessons for lawyers

Apr 06, 2018

A recent ruling by the Ontario Court of Appeal (OCA) contains lessons for defence counsel about credibility, rules of reply and collateral evidence, Toronto litigator Richard Shekter, tells The Lawyer’s Daily.

The “he-said, she-said” date-rape case highlights the difficulties judges often have in assessing the credibility of witnesses, says Shekter, a partner with Shekter Dychtenberg LLP.

When it comes to courts struggling with credibility, he reminds himself that everyone is human and fallible, reports the online legal publication.

“As we grow older we become convinced, in many instances, that we know when someone’s lying and know when someone’s telling the truth because of the way they present it — their demeanour, the way they speak, sometimes the way they look,” says Shekter.

“And over the course of the last 30 years — and certainly more recently — the appellate courts have become aware, as a result of studies by psychologists and studies of human nature, that you can’t always tell when someone is lying or telling the truth.”

He says many higher-court decisions have criticized trial judges for relying too heavily on demeanour.

“It’s the most difficult thing for a judge to do because if you disbelieve the accused and you accept the evidence of the Crown beyond a reasonable doubt, somebody is going to be convicted, sentenced and, in many instances, is going to go to jail,” he explains.

“The stakes are incredibly high and that’s why courts bend over backwards to ensure that when assessments of credibility are made they’re made on a basis that makes sense and that the assessments are internally consistent.”

In the recent case, the court heard that the appellant met the complainant at a university bar in 2012. After chatting over drinks, he walked her home — about all this, both sides agreed. After this point, however, their versions of events differ.

According to court documents, there was consensual sexual touching after they arrived at her dorm room. She says he pushed her to the floor and raped her. He says she gave her consent before intercourse.

He was eventually convicted of sexual assault. He then appealed on multiple grounds, says the article.

His lawyer argued that the trial judge erred in evaluating the credibility of both parties and in the handling of a key piece of evidence.

To read more, click here

Leave a comment

Related Information

After being severely injured by a car, I had to choose a lawyer to represent me. Personal, expert help was important to me and so I decided against a big firm. Based on strong recommendations, I chose Alden Dychtenberg.

Alden provided outstanding ongoing customer service throughout the process and would respond to emails and calls within a few hours on a 24/7 basis. Whenever a decision had to be made, I was provided with the pros and cons of each option so that I could make educated decisions and be actively involved in my case.

I received great moral support, advice and help from the whole team who all knew my case inside out. Even after resolving the case through mediation, Alden and his staff have stayed in touch and continue to help me to this day.

Alden's actions are guided by his belief that "the only good outcome is a happy customer".  Having worked with him and his team for over four years, I can say that I am extremely happy with having chosen Alden Dychtenberg.

Rupert Altschuler

Shekter Dychtenberg LLP is a boutique Bay Street litigation law firm with big firm talent. We may be smaller than some, but no firm provides its clients with a higher level of personal service. Each member of the Shekter Dychtenberg team is focused on serving the needs of our clients and achieving the best possible results. Once you get to know us, you'll be part of the Shekter Dychtenberg extended family and hopefully, a life long client.

Shekter Dychtenberg LLP Footer Logo

Suite 2900, 390 Bay Street, Toronto, ON, M5H 2Y2 | T. 416.941.9995 | F. 416.869.0321
©2014 Shekter Dychtenberg LLP. All rights reserved.

Legal Disclaimer

Law firm marketing | Cubicle Fugitive