One common query from clients involves the admissibility of lie detector tests in Canadian criminal law. It is crucial to understand that, generally, lie detector results are not admissible in court, whether for or against the individual being tested. This means that the results of a lie detector test, whether passed or failed, cannot be presented as evidence in a court proceeding.

Key Points

  • Inadmissibility in Court:
    • No Judicial Consideration: Judges will not consider the results of a lie detector test, regardless of the outcome.
    • Not Helpful in Legal Proceedings: Even if a person passes the test, it does not serve as a legal defence, and if failed, it cannot be used against them in court.
  • Cautionary Approach:
    • Refusing Lie Detector Tests: Individuals are advised not to agree to take a lie detector test, especially if requested by the police or the Crown.
    • Potential Manipulation: Police may use tactics such as falsely claiming failure of a lie detector test to induce nervousness, manipulate an accused to answer their questions, provide a statement,  or confess to the crime, regardless of the actual results.
  • Exceptional Circumstances:
    • Rare Use in Defence Strategy: In very limited and rare situations, where the Crown considers withdrawing charges due to a weak case, a defence may use its own lie detector expert. The results may be presented to the Crown to emphasize that the accused is factually innocent, in addition to the Crown having a weak case.
  • Cautious Approach to Silence Right:
    • Exercising the Right to Remain Silent: Individuals have the right to remain silent and are not obliged to undergo a lie detector test.

Legal Advice

In any legal situation, it is essential to seek advice from a legal professional. The general consensus is to refrain from agreeing to a lie detector test, considering its inadmissibility in court and the potential risks associated with its use during police investigations.

For personalized legal advice and guidance, consult with our legal team for a free consultation to address specific concerns related to your case.

Video Transcription:

A common question that clients asks me is whether a lie detector is admissible or whether that will help under the Canadian criminal law.The short answer to that is that a lie detector is not admissible in court. It cannot be used either for you or against you. So for example, if you agreed with the police to take a lie detector and you pass, a judge is never going to hear about that. If you fail, a judge is never going to hear about that. The lie detector is often used by the police as a tool to get you talking. You should not take a lie detector, if the police ask you to do that. What’s going to happen is that they could a) lie to you and say you failed and try to get you talking get you nervous, even if you pass, it doesn’t help. There may be very narrow circumstances where you might consider a lie detector and I will give you one example that I have used for clients in the past.The crown is thinking about withdrawing the charges, they think it’s a very weak case, and they’ve had discussions but they are saying, “you know, we are going probably go ahead with it”, the victim wants to ahead, I recognize it’s a weak case, maybe there’s some slim prospect of a conviction, maybe there’s not, but politically the crown wants to go forward. In that situation, I might, and I have done this a couple of times, in the past, with clients in that situation, hire our own lie detector expert. So then we do that in our office with the expert or the expert’s office, if the person passes, I may be able to then, you know, use those results to the crown, “look you got a weak case, you know it, you’ve already told me you don’t want to run this case, he’s passed the lie detector, he’s innocent.” That situation rarely happens but that’s the only time, it’s our own lie detector and if you fail it, and there are false fails on the lie detector, even if you are telling the truth, it’s not infallible, we don’t share it with anyone. So other than that very narrow situation which rarely happens, do not ever agree to take a lie detector, especially from the crown or the police. That is not a situation to get into, you have the right to remain silent and that’s only going to probably hurt you by taking that lie detector test.

By Published On: July 31, 2023Last Updated: December 4, 2023Categories: Criminal Harassment, Video

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