Testimonial demeanour is a topic that often people discuss with me clients and when I’m preparing for cases, what does it mean? Well, first of all, think of it this way when you first meet a person and you’re talking say at a party, you form an impression of the way they come across, their demeanour, their effect, their confidence, they’re a well-spoken person, they’re telling a confident story and you’re enjoying the conversation. Well, testimonial demeanour in court is not so similar like a witness is testifying and we’re forming an impression from the way they present themselves. They’re not shaking, they seem confident they’re telling a cognizant version of events. They’re not particularly emotional about it. They’re just coming across very nicely as kind of a believable type presentation of a witness. Well, the courts are very cautious about demeanour and quite rightfully so because we all know people who can lie well and come across fantastic. There’s no question about that. We’ve all we’ve all met charlatans and kind of sociopathic people. So the courts have said over the years, the Ontario Court of Appeal Supreme Court of Canada, look, testimonial demeanour and the way the person comes across is something to be considered a small part of the overall evidence and the judges are not are told not to ignore it. But they have to also assess the whole body of evidence collectively like was the witness reliable? Were there inconsistencies? Were there improbabilities? So testimonial demeanour has really been carved down less and less over the years frankly. I think there was a time probably before I started practicing law 33 years ago where testimony of demeanour was more important. We all just example we all know people who are actually telling the truth, but they’re not telling a reliable or accurate version of events. As an example, someone who is very drunk can’t remember things even though they’re telling the truth. They may come across great in court. So you’ve got to you’ve got to call it what it is. Look, they’re coming across well. They weren’t shaking, they were forthright, they appeared honest, very presentable person. That’s part of their demeanour. But you know what I can’t accept their evidence. It’s not reliable even though they appear to be telling the truth and the bottom line is our courts have placed testimonial demeanour in in a more minor role in assessing the credibility and reliability of any witness and rightfully so. You know, we don’t want to be founding someone avoid life in prison or years in jail just because someone sounds pretty good and presents themselves in their great speaker on the witness stand. But that’s, that’s a short primer on how Canadian courts are assessing testimonial demeanour, the bottom line it plays a much more minor role than one would think in the assessment of how a witness should be believed or not believed or whether they’re credible or reliable.

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