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Lecture 4

COMM 304 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Expert Witness, Wrongful Death Claim

Course Code
COMM 304
Balbinder S.Deo

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Week Two
Lecture #4
Pre-trial, get as much information as you can , it is very important that when you are talking to a
lawyer in pre-trial, you shouldn’t edit what you tell them, because you don’t know what could
be legally important (something trivial to you could be very important)
Eventually after pre-trial preceding, you will be coming to court, lawyer will inform you about
the date
If you were the plaintiff, your lawyer is in a situation where your lawyer has to prove your case
In a civil case, your lawyer has to tip the scales, passed the balance point (50% or more)=proof
on the balance of probabilities
The civil burden of proof=proof on the balance of probabilities=you are able to prove that it is
more likely than not, that what you are saying is correct
If you can only prove it is AS likely as not, you are only at 50%, not enough
Proof beyond a reasonable doubt (close to 100%)=criminal case, the leftover doubt is due to
biases, and unreasonable doubts that cannot be justifiable
Criminal burden of proof is way higher than it is for a civil case
In many cases the facts blend themselves in civil suits and criminal suits
In the criminal trial the prosecutors were unable to bring proof beyond a reasonable doubt (O.J.
Simpson) so he was found guiltycharged with wrongful death
In the criminal case, you are trying to prove that the crown is not guilty
Criminal trials never try to prove innocence, only guilty and not guilty
Civil caseplaintiff, defendant, liable/not liable, , civil burden of proof, sued
Criminal caseprosecutor, accused, guilty/not guilty, proof beyond a reasonable charge,
When you go to trial, you end up in a court room, the lawyer in the courtroom, the plaintiff will
open the case, what they say happened, what evidence they brought to prove certain things,
when that is finished, it is up to the prosecutor or plaintiff to start calling witnesses (two kinds)
o Witnesses that know things first hand, have heard or seen the information yourself
o Hear-say evidence is when witness hears information from someone else (non
admissible evidence)other side will immediately reject
o Exception, an English case in which a women staggered out of a house with a knife
sticking out of her chest, she said Tom killed me, that evidence was admitted, because
the person who heard her say it was able to justify against Tom and say he heard her say
o Expert witness (those who are hired to compare signatures of accused people who say
they never signed a document)person assessing this can testify through their
expertise if the person signed the document or if it was in fact forged
The plaintiff’s lawyer then questions the lawyers
Establish who the plaintiff is
You cannot ask leading questions
o Mr. Smith, is it true you saw Joe hit Mary? wrong
o Mr. Smith, what exactly did you see? open-ended question
Cross-examination by other lawyer, asked to make a statement by a defendant, then they are
asked will you still say the same even though..., etc. Until they are driven to another point in
which their initial statement is lost lawyer can redirect them to what they did say
Next witness is called and the same process again
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