section 714.4

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

Allows for the use of technology to allow for remote testimony from a witness outside of Canada, based on certain considerations.

SECTION WORDING

714.4 The court may receive evidence given by a witness outside Canada by means of technology that permits the parties and the court in Canada to hear and examine the witness, if the court is of the opinion that it would be appropriate, considering all the circumstances including (a) the nature of the witness anticipated evidence; and (b) any potential prejudice to either of the parties caused by the fact that the witness would not be seen by them.

EXPLANATION

Section 714.4 of the Criminal Code of Canada pertains to receiving evidence from witnesses who are not physically present within the country. This section allows for the use of technology to permit courts in Canada to hear and examine a witness who is located outside of the nation's borders. However, the court may only choose to do so if it deems it appropriate based on various factors, including the nature of the witness's anticipated evidence and any potential prejudices that may arise due to the witnesses not being physically present. One of the primary reasons for this section is to ensure that the Canadian judiciary can receive important testimony from individuals who may be living abroad or who are otherwise unable to travel to Canada. This can be especially crucial in criminal investigations or trials where the testimony of a key witness may be necessary to establish guilt or innocence. However, it is important to note that the court must evaluate all the circumstances surrounding the case when deciding whether to allow such evidence from foreign witnesses. They must consider the potential prejudicial effects of not having the witness present in person and may weigh the importance of the evidence against the possible harm that could arise from allowing remote testimony. Overall, Section 714.4 serves as an important tool for Canadian courts to ensure that justice is served and that all necessary evidence is considered in criminal proceedings, regardless of the physical location of the witness.

COMMENTARY

Section 714.4 of the Criminal Code of Canada provides for the use of technology for receiving evidence from witnesses located outside of Canada. The section empowers the court to hear and examine a witness located outside of Canada through technology in circumstances where the court considers it appropriate. However, the court must consider all the circumstances, including the nature of the witness' evidence and the potential prejudice to either party caused by the fact that the witness would not be seen by them. The use of technology in court proceedings has become more prevalent in recent years. The use of technology such as video conferencing or Skype has allowed for witnesses to give evidence remotely, particularly in cases where witnesses are located in a different country. This has the potential to save time, resources and increases the efficiency of the legal process. However, the use of technology for witness evidence raises certain issues, such as the reliability of the technology used and the impact on the quality of evidence. This can create challenges for both parties, as both parties may suffer prejudicial effects from technical errors during the testimony. Furthermore, the use of technology can create issues for evidentiary standards. The admissibility of evidence provided through technology and any resulting issues relating to authentication and the reliability of evidence are all factors that need to be weighed against each other. Thus, the use of technology to facilitate witness evidence should be supported by robust procedures that ensure the quality of the evidence being presented. The use of technology to receive evidence from witnesses located outside Canada can also raise issues related to privacy laws. Parties need to be aware of their legal obligations regarding information privacy, including the limitations on sharing, processing, and storing personal information. Overall, the inclusion of Section 714.4 in the Criminal Code of Canada highlights the importance of the use of technology in legal proceedings. The use of technology can offer potential efficiency gains, time and resource savings while also ensuring access to justice by reducing the barriers to accessing evidence by witnesses in other jurisdictions. However, its use must be carefully considered and the potential risks carefully balanced against the gains. As the use of technology in court proceedings continues to evolve, it will be important to ensure that procedures and standards associated with the use of technology are appropriate to ensure that technology is used to support the quality of the legal system and protect the rights of all parties involved.

STRATEGY

Section 714.4 of the Criminal Code of Canada provides for the use of technology to take evidence from witnesses located outside the country. This enables the parties in Canada to hear and examine the witness remotely, which can be more convenient and cost-effective than having the witness physically present in court. However, using this technology also raises some strategic considerations for those involved in the case. One important consideration is the quality of the technology being used. The evidence given by the witness outside Canada must be received by means of technology that permits the parties and the court in Canada to hear and examine the witness. This means that the technology must be reliable and effective in transmitting the witness's testimony to the court. Any technical issues or glitches could potentially undermine the credibility of the witness and affect the outcome of the case. Therefore, it is important to choose a technology platform that is known to be dependable and to test it thoroughly before using it in court. Another strategic consideration is the nature of the witness's anticipated evidence. If the evidence is central to the case and cannot be obtained from any other source, it may be appropriate to use section 714.4 to take the witness's evidence remotely. However, if the evidence is less critical, it may be preferable to seek an alternative means of obtaining it, such as by taking a video deposition or seeking the assistance of a foreign court. The decision to use section 714.4 should be based on a careful consideration of all the circumstances, including the importance of the evidence to the case and the potential impact of using remote technology on the credibility of the witness. Another important consideration is the potential prejudice to either of the parties caused by the fact that the witness would not be seen by them. In some cases, the fact that the witness is not physically present in court may be seen as disadvantageous to one of the parties. For example, if the witness's demeanor and body language are important to the assessment of their credibility, not being able to see the witness in person could be seen as a disadvantage. However, in other cases, not having the witness physically present in court could be an advantage, for example, if the witness would be intimidated or unwilling to testify in a formal court setting. The strategic considerations will vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case. One strategy that could be employed is to use section 714.4 as a last resort. If other means of obtaining the evidence have been exhausted and it is necessary to take the witness's evidence remotely, it may be advisable to prepare the witness thoroughly in advance. This could involve conducting a pre-interview to familiarize the witness with the technology and to ensure that the witness is comfortable and confident in giving evidence in this way. Preparing exhibits and documents in advance of the remote hearing can also help to ensure that the hearing proceeds smoothly. Another strategy is to anticipate and address potential objections to the use of section 714.4 by the opposing party. For example, the opposing party may argue that the technology used to take the witness's evidence is unreliable or that it is unfair for them not to be able to see the witness in person. By anticipating these objections and addressing them in advance, it may be possible to minimize their impact on the proceedings. In conclusion, section 714.4 of the Criminal Code of Canada provides a useful tool for taking evidence from witnesses located outside the country. However, it also raises some important strategic considerations that must be carefully weighed before deciding to use the technology. By preparing thoroughly in advance, anticipating potential objections, and carefully considering all the circumstances, it is possible to use section 714.4 effectively to obtain important evidence and further the interests of justice.