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New buffer for rock, hard place

Thursday, August 25, 2016 @ 8:00 PM | By Michael Benedict

Criminal defence counsel are no longer caught between a rock and a hard place when defending an accused whose co-accused has pleaded guilty, thanks to a recent Ontario Court of Appeal judgment.

In the past, the only practical way for the defence to introduce evidence of such a guilty plea, otherwise barred by hearsay rules, was to subpoena the co-accused and risk damaging cross-examination. (An agreed statement of facts would be unlikely in such a situation.) The alternative was to say nothing, risking a judge or,...