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This is worth comparing with what was said in Gestmin in this jurisdiction.

Some thoughts from other common law jurisdictions concerning finding the facts:

I start from the undisputed facts which both sides accept.

I add to them the facts very likely to be true such as those recorded

in contemporary documents (facts established by the documents are helpful) or

spoken by independent witnesses (a witness who has no interest in the outcome is less likely to lie).

I judge a witness to be unreliable if:

  • his evidence is in any serious respect inconsistent with the undisputed or indisputable facts (this needs to be weighed carefully for it may be due to poor memory); or if
  • he contradicts himself on important [things]

I rely as little as possible on such deceptive matters as his demeanour.

Generally it is not helpful to rely upon ‘false in one thing false in everything’ but where I am convinced that a witness has lied I may require corroboration for the parts of his testimony I am to accept. In other cases of poor evidence I may disregard the weak portions but accept other parts of the evidence.

When I have done my best to separate the true from the false by these more or less objective tests I say which story seems to be the most probable.

Very often the truth lies between the recollections of the various witnesses and here corroboration from a document, an opposing or independent witness is helpful.

Evidence must satisfy the principle of consonance: it must fit with the other evidence and what we know of people.

Evidence should have a theme which is introduced, developed and then brought to summation. To achieve this the evidence needs order and context, coherence (judged by consistency, common sense and experience), and completeness.

 

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