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General Principles

Even at the best of times, identification evidence is subject to well-known and inherent frailties. Particular vigilance is therefore required in relation to this type of evidence: R v McCracken, 2016 ONCA 228 at para 25


Although familiarity may enhance the reliability of evidence, the same cautions and concerns nonetheless apply to recognition evidence: McCracken at para 25

Resemblance evidence has little probative value and does not amount to identification evidence. In the absence of some other inculpatory evidence, a resemblance is no evidence: R v Dodd, 2015 ONCA 286 


The trial judge need not give a caution to the jury about the frailties of eye-witness identification in every case in which the Crown leads identification evidence as part of its case requires a caution.  However, where the accuracy of the eyewitness evidence plays any substantial role in the Crown’s case, the caution is mandatory: R v Oswald, 2016 ONCA 147 at para 4

An in-court identification, standing alone, has little, if any, value as evidence identifying an accused as the person who committed the crime: R v Bailey, 2016 ONCA 516 at para 48

For a review of the well-recognized danger of cross-racial eye-witness identification, see: R v Richards, (2004), 70 OR (3d) 737, at para. 32 (C.A.)

For an excellent review of the frailty of eye witness identification, the evaluation of eye witness ID where video is available, and the test for admission of recognition evidence, see R v MB, 2017 ONCA 653

On appeal, the court must determine whether the identification evidence, together with the circumstantial evidence, provides a satisfactory basis for the conviction: McCracken at para 27


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