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Simon Shields, LLB

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Evidence - Expert Evidence

Hamilton v. Bluewater Recycling Association (Ont CA, 2016)

In this case the Court of Appeal confirms that expert witnesses may now give opinions on the 'ultimate issues' of a case, being fact-findings to be made by the judge or jury:
[19] The appellants submit that opinion evidence was improperly adduced by defence counsel during cross-examination of the appellants’ two expert witnesses, Travis Fricker, an accident reconstruction expert, and Dr. Christina Rudin-Brown, a human factors expert. The appellants say that these witnesses answered questions concerning their opinion as to the cause of the accident that were unrelated to their expertise and went directly to the ultimate issue for the jury. The appellants submit that there is a risk that the jury was “overwhelmed” by inadmissible opinion evidence.

[20] We disagree.

[21] First, there is no longer a general prohibition on the admission of expert evidence concerning the ultimate issue: see R. v. Mohan, 1994 CanLII 80 (SCC), [1994] 2 S.C.R. 9, at p. 24; R. v. Lucas, 2014 ONCA 561 (CanLII), 121 O.R. (3d) 303, leave to appeal refused, [2014] S.C.C.A. No. 460, at para. 271; Hoang v. Vicentini, 2016 ONCA 723 (CanLII), at para. 62.


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