When an accused chooses to testify at a criminal trial, he should expect that the Crown Attorney will conduct a vigorous cross-examination.

Vigorous, however, does not mean abusive. 

Counsel is not permitted to humiliate, demean or mock a witness.

Useful references:

·      The Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society Code of Professional Conduct s. 5-2 (m):

When acting as an advocate, a lawyer must not…needlessly abuse, hector or harass a witness…

·      R. v. Robinson, [2001] O.J. No. 1072 (C.A.) at para. 35:

... Crown counsel's cross-examination of the appellant was highly improper. From start to finish, it was designed to demean and denigrate the appellant ... Many of the questions posed were laced with sarcasm and framed in a manner that made it apparent that Crown counsel personally held the appellant in utter contempt....

·      R. v. Bouhsass, [2002] O.J. No. 4177 (C.A.) at para. 12:

…the cross-examination broke, in a repetitive and persistent fashion, the following rules that have been spelled out time and time again by this court: …Crown counsel mocked…the appellant…



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