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Evidence - Adoptive Admissions

. R. v. Gordon

In R. v. Gordon (Ont CA, 2022) the Court of Appeal considers the law of 'adoptive admissions', where a person can be deemed to have admitted a statement even though not expressly and orally:
[46] The appellant submits that the appellant’s response of “[s]hut up, shut up, shut up” and that this was not a conversation for the phone, to Ms. Merraro’s comment to him that she had heard rumours at school that he was responsible for the victim’s death, could not amount in law to an “adoptive admission”. Therefore, the trial judge erred in law by instructing the jury that they could treat his response as an adoptive admission, and further erred by giving them an unbalanced instruction which did not give them the option of another interpretation.


[49] An inference of adoption may be available to be drawn based on a person’s words, actions, conduct, or demeanor in response to a statement made by another person and heard by the person whose response is being considered. Silence in the face of statements made by others, or an equivocal or evasive denial, may also constitute an adoptive admission where the circumstances give rise to a reasonable expectation of reply: R. v. Beauchamp, 2015 ONCA 260, 326 C.C.C. (3d) 280, at para. 247; R. v. Robinson, 2014 ONCA 63, 118 O.R. (3d) 581, at paras. 48-58.


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Last modified: 22-11-22
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