Edgar Statements: an Exception to the Rule Against Prior Consistent Statements

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Edgar Statements: an Exception to the Rule Against Prior Consistent Statements

It is open to a trial judge to admit an accused’s spontaneous out-of-court statements made upon arrest or when first confronted with an accusation as an exception to the general rule excluding prior consistent statements as evidence of the reaction of the accused to the accusation and as proof of consistency, provided the accused takes the stand and exposes himself or herself to cross- examination. The statement of the accused is not strictly evidence of the truth of what was said (subject to being admissible under the principled approach to hearsay evidence) but is evidence of the reaction of the accused, which is relevant to the credibility of the accused and as circumstantial evidence that may have a bearing on guilt or innocence.

As a practical matter, once the accused has testified, he or she should be entitled to call in reply the police officer who heard and recorded the statement to verify to the jury the fact that it was made.

R. v. Edgar, 2010 ONCA 529

In summary, the spontaneous exculpatory statements made by an accused person upon or shortly after arrest may be admitted as an exception to the general rule excluding prior consistent statements for the purpose of showing the reaction of the accused when first confronted with the accusation, provided the accused testifies and thereby exposes himself or herself to cross-examination.

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