Declarations of mental or emotional state refer to statements made by a declarant referencing their personal mental or emotional state at the time. For evidence of this nature to be admissible in court, the court must be satisfied of several conditions.
The statement must have been referencing the declarants current mental or emotional state. This requirement ensures some measure of reliability in the statement, because the declarant is making a statement about their current state of mind, at the time they are in that state of mind. This type of evidence is often introduced where the state of mind of the declarant at the time of a particular incident is in question.
This particular exception to the hearsay rule is often used to introduce evidence of an accused’s intention with regard to a particular situation; to show that a victim in a murder case feared the accused prior to being killed; or as a way to prove motive on the part of the accused.
Person A is going through a tumultuous divorce with person B. After one particularly contentious court hearing, person B wakes up to find that their vehicle has been set on fire. Person A is subsequently arrested and charged with the offence. At trial, person A testifies that they were not angry at person B and had no motive to commit the crime. The Crown introduces a friend of person A as a witness. The witness testifies that immediately following the court date, person A stated to the witness that he was very angry with the outcome of the court date and wanted to get revenge on his ex-partner. Person A indicated that he was “going to make her pay”. This evidence is introduced at trial to combat person A’s assertion that he was not upset at person B and had no reason to set her car on fire.