PFD340 - Rules of Evidence

Outline info
Last revision date 2018-04-11 08:34:17.519
Last review date 2018-04-11 08:34:36.499

Subject Title
Rules of Evidence

Subject Description
A clear understanding of the rules of evidence is mandatory for any practitioner in the Administration of Justice. The collection and admissibility of evidence is governed by: The Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Canada and Ontario Evidence Acts, Case/Common Law, and the Criminal Code. All of these sources will be studied in depth in this course as they pertain to rules of evidence.

Credit Status
This is a Police Foundations Program prescribed credit subject.

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

1. Interpret the rules of evidence and procedure as they relate to admissibility at trial.
2. Understand the impact of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms on the collection and presentation of evidence in court by State Agents.
3. Identify the rules governing the attendance, competency and compellability of witnesses, and the accused at trial.
4. List the geographical and jurisdictional rules governing the venue of a trial.
5. Describe the criminal jury process.

Cheating and Plagiarism
Each student should be aware of the College's policy regarding Cheating and Plagiarism. Seneca's Academic Policy will be strictly enforced.

To support academic honesty at Seneca College, all work submitted by students may be reviewed for authenticity and originality, utilizing software tools and third party services. Please visit the Academic Honesty site on for further information regarding cheating and plagiarism policies and procedures.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Disabilities Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.


Topic Outline

  1. Canada/Ontario Evidence Acts: application
  2. Charter of Rights and Freedoms: evidentiary implications
  3. Criminal Court System
  4. The criminal jury system
  5. Geographic jurisdictions
  6. Change of venue
  7. Contempt of court
  8. Disclosure
  9. Procuring the attendance of witnesses
  10. Competence, credibility, compellability of witnesses
  11. Oath, affirmation: perjury
  12. Husband/wife as witnesses
  13. Children as witnesses
  14. Examination of witnesses
  15. Rules of testimony; effective presentation of evidence
  16. Use of memoranda to refresh memory
  17. Source and purpose of evidentiary rules
  18. Facts and how proven
  19. Direct and circumstantial evidence
  20. The Great Exclusionary Rules and important exceptions
  21. Documentary evidence
  22. The Best Evidence Rule, corroboration and the One Witness Rule
  23. Evidence of accomplices
  24. Inconsistent statements by witnesses
  25. Adverse witnesses
  26. Documentary evidence
  27. Self serving evidence
  28. Self incrimination and privileged evidence
  29. Interception of private communications

Mode of Instruction
Classroom lectures, group discussions and practical exercises are the primary methods of instruction.

Prescribed Texts

  1. Martin's Annual Criminal Code, 2017 Student + CD, Greenspan, Edward L., Q.C., Rosenberg, The Honourable Justice Marc, Henein, Marie, LL.B., LL.M.
    ISBN: 978-0-88804-936-0
  2. Pocket Dictionary of Canadian Law, Carswell; ISBN# 9780779836888

Reference Material

  1. R. Salhany, The Practical Guide to Evidence in Criminal Cases, Carswell, Toronto.
  2. McWilliams, Canadian Criminal Evidence, Canada Law Book Inc., Aurora.

Required Supplies

Promotion Policy

Grading Policy
A+ 90%  to  100%
A 80%  to  89%
B+ 75%  to  79%
B 70%  to  74%
C+ 65%  to  69%
C 60%  to  64%
D+ 55%  to  59%
D 50%  to  54%
F 0%    to  49% (Not a Pass)
EXC Excellent
SAT Satisfactory
UNSAT Unsatisfactory

For further information, see a copy of the Academic Policy, available online ( or at Seneca's Registrar's Offices.

Modes of Evaluation

Term Tests (3 x 25%) 75%
Assignment 15%
Tests, assignments, participation at the discretion of your professor 10%

Approved by: Sandra Noble