Counsel have a duty to educate witnesses about any rules of evidence that may impact their anticipated testimony. As stated by Watt, J.A., speaking for a unanimous Ontario Court of Appeal in R. v. J.A.T., [2012] O.J. No. 1208 at para. 92:

It is elementary that a party who calls a witness should ensure, to the extent possible, that the witness gives evidence that is relevant, material and admissible in the proceedings. …

It is important to remember that most civilian witnesses lack familiarity with the law of evidence and may require direction to remain focused on pertinent issues and to refrain from recounting information that violates exclusionary rules.

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