THE ARROYO JUDGMENT 4: DON’T MAKE ALLEGATIONS OF LYING IF YOU HAVEN’T PUT THEM TO THE WITNESS

The previous posts* on the Arroyo judgment have concentrated, for the most part, on the judge’s criticisms of the evidence of the claimant.  However there is one short passage which illustrates an important principle of litigation – a party cannot make allegations of dishonesty if they have not put those allegations to the witness.

THE JUDGMENT

The judge was considering the evidence of one of the lead claimants. He found that the evidence of the witness was not reliable.  However he was highly critical of the defendant’s submissions that the claimant was lying.
1413.       In many important respects I am not able to accept that Snr Sequeda’s evidence is reliable. It was, however, a considerable and unwelcome surprise when the Defendant’s closing submissions on LC39 opened with the assertion that his only vulnerability was “the vulnerability of a witness who came to court ready to lie in order to advance a claim, and whose lies are slowly and surely exposed through the forensic process” {C4/4.8/615}. This allegation had not been put to him, as it should have been if it was to be made or pursued, and it was a grave error of judgment on the part of the Defendant to advance and develop it without having done so. On being required to review the terms of its closing submissions generally the Defendant has withdrawn the allegation of lying, though it maintains the submission that Snr Sequeda’s evidence was unreliable and wrong in a number of respects. The allegation of lying was one that should not have been made in the original closing submissions and which was rightly withdrawn. For the avoidance of any doubt, had I been required to rule on the point, I would have rejected any suggestion that Snr Sequeda was dishonest in the giving of his evidence.”

RELATED POSTS*

Alleging fraud

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