section 133

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

A person cannot be convicted of an offence based on evidence from only one witness unless their testimony is supported by evidence that directly implicates the accused.

SECTION WORDING

133 No person shall be convicted of an offence under section 132 on the evidence of only one witness unless the evidence of that witness is corroborated in a material particular by evidence that implicates the accused.

EXPLANATION

Section 133 of the Criminal Code of Canada sets out the rule of corroboration in cases of offences under section 132. Section 132 criminalizes perjury, which is a serious offence that involves purposely making a false statement under oath or in a statutory declaration. The provision of section 133 aims to protect the accused from being convicted on the sole testimony of a single witness. This is because, in many cases, the testimony of a single witness may not be sufficient to establish beyond reasonable doubt that the accused committed the offence. To ensure a fair trial, the law requires that the testimony of a single witness be corroborated by other evidence that implicates the accused in a material particular. Corroboration refers to evidence that supports or confirms the testimony of the witness. It can take many forms, such as physical evidence, circumstantial evidence, or the testimony of other witnesses. In order to be considered corroboration, the evidence must connect the accused to the offence and provide some independent confirmation of the witness's testimony. It is important to note that the corroboration required by section 133 must go to a material particular of the offence. This means that the corroboration must relate to a significant element of the offence and must not be merely incidental or peripheral to the case. In summary, section 133 of the Criminal Code of Canada protects the rights of the accused by requiring corroboration of the testimony of a single witness in cases of offences under section 132 to ensure a fair trial and prevent wrongful convictions.

COMMENTARY

Section 133 of the Criminal Code of Canada is a safeguard put in place to prevent the conviction of a person based solely on the evidence of one witness. The section demands that the evidence of a single witness must be corroborated in a material particular by additional evidence that implicates the accused. This requirement is designed to ensure that an individual is not convicted solely on the basis of a witness's statement. The section aims to reduce the risk of wrongful conviction by establishing a higher threshold for evidence. The requirement for corroboration of evidence follows from the common law notion of the "rule of caution." This rule is the judicial doctrine that generates a duty on the part of the judge who presides over criminal trials to caution the jury about the dangers of acting on either uncorroborated evidence or evidence that is not directly relevant to the issue at hand in the criminal proceedings. This rule of caution aims to protect the innocent and prevent wrongful convictions by ensuring that the evidence presented is reliable and trustworthy. Section 133 serves the same purpose as the rule of caution by setting high forensic standards in the admissibility of evidence in criminal trials. It helps to prevent the harm that can result from jurors relying on the testimony of a single witness whose reliability may be questionable. It also ensures that the evidence relied upon by the jury to convict an accused is of sufficient reliability, thereby protecting the rights of the accused. Furthermore, this requirement aims to prevent the possibility of a malicious prosecution or misidentification of the defendant in court. Malicious prosecution refers to the act of wrongfully initiating or causing a prosecution against an individual without reasonable or probable cause. Misidentification, on the other hand, occurs when a witness identifies someone as the perpetrator of a crime when, in fact, they may not have been. Critics of section 133 argue that the requirement for corroboration of evidence impedes the ability to secure convictions for sexual assault and other crimes that often occur without witnesses. While it is true that this section may pose some challenges, it is also important for the fairness of the justice system that a conviction is based on reliable and trustworthy evidence. It is better to err on the side of caution than to allow wrongful convictions to occur. In conclusion, section 133 of the Criminal Code of Canada is an important safeguard that ensures that nobody is convicted solely on the basis of the uncorroborated testimony of a single witness. This section of the Code helps to reduce the risk of wrongful convictions, malicious prosecution, and misidentification and promotes the principles of fairness and justice in our legal system.

STRATEGY

Section 133 of the Criminal Code of Canada lays out an important principle of criminal law, which can have significant implications for both the accused and the prosecutor in a criminal trial. The section requires that there must be corroborating evidence in a criminal trial involving section 132 accusations, which relate to perjury, before an accused can be convicted. This means that the evidence of just one witness in such a trial cannot be used to secure a conviction, and other evidence is required to support the witness's testimony. For an accused, the existence of section 133 can provide a potential avenue for defense. If there is no other evidence available to support the testimony of the single witness, who has accused the accused of committing perjury, the accused may avoid a conviction. Conversely, the prosecution must be aware of the potential limitations of relying on a single witness in such cases, and may need to take steps to secure additional corroboration, which can be a challenging task. There are a number of strategic considerations that come into play when dealing with section 133. One of the key strategies that can be employed is the use of forensic evidence. For example, forensic evidence can be used to establish whether a document is genuine or has been altered, which can provide important corroboration in cases where a single witness's testimony is the primary evidence available. Similarly, digital forensic evidence, such as metadata from an electronic document, can also be used to support witness testimony. Another key strategy is the use of expert witnesses. Expert witnesses can be used to provide evidence on a range of topics, including handwriting analysis, linguistic analysis, and even lie detection. Expert witnesses can help to establish the authenticity of documents and testimony, and can provide critical corroboration to support the witness's testimony. Additionally, the use of multiple expert witnesses can be especially powerful, as it creates a consensus opinion that can carry significant weight with the court. In cases involving section 133 of the Criminal Code of Canada, it is also important for the prosecution to present a clear and compelling case to the court. This requires careful preparation and presentation of evidence, as well as an understanding of the legal principles that govern such cases. Prosecutors must also be attentive to the requirements of section 133, and must take steps to ensure that they have sufficient corroboration to support the testimony of the witness. Failure to do so can result in an unsuccessful prosecution and a potential miscarriage of justice. Finally, the use of other witnesses can also be an effective strategy in cases involving section 133. If multiple witnesses can provide similar testimony that supports the witness's claims, this can provide additional corroboration and make it more likely that a conviction will be secured. However, it is important that the other witnesses are themselves credible and reliable, as the court will only accept evidence that is deemed to be reliable. In conclusion, section 133 of the Criminal Code of Canada requires that there be corroborating evidence in criminal cases involving perjury accusations. This can create challenges for both the accused and the prosecution, but can also provide opportunities for strategic use of other evidence, such as forensic evidence, expert witnesses, and other witnesses. It is essential that all parties understand the requirements of section 133 and take steps to ensure that the evidence presented in court meets these requirements.