Witness Name and Statement Ordered Disclosed

Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Chilliwack Registry, ordering that the name and statement of a witness be disclosed in the course of litigation.
In this week’s case (Derksen v. Canada Safeway Limited) the Plaintiff alleged injury following an incident on the Defendant’s premises.  She sued for damages.  In the course of the claim a liability claims examiner retained by the Defendant obtained a statement from a witness who “claimed to have information regarding the plaintiff and her claim“.  The Defendant did not share this document claiming litigation privilege.  Master Caldwell disagreed finding the statement, along with the name of the witness, needs to be disclosed.  In reaching this conclusion the Court provided the following brief reasons:
[14]         The remaining issue involves a statement provided to Ms. Freestone by an unnamed individual on April 11, 2012. According to Ms. Freestone, she was contacted by this person who claimed to have information regarding the plaintiff and her claim. An interview was arranged and a transcript created. The defence now claims that the interview was done and the statement created solely for the purpose of litigation.
[15]         There is no property in a witness, particularly a lay witness. Based upon the material before me, the individual has potentially relevant, potentially controversial information, about the plaintiff and her claim. The statement provided by this lay witness may well form an important part of cross examination. Failure to disclose such a statement denies plaintiff the opportunity to investigate the allegations contained therein and to challenge the veracity and motives of the informant.
[16]         No authority was cited to me to support the defence position of privilege as regards the statement and the identity of the witness.
[17]         The defendants are ordered to produce to counsel for the plaintiff an unredacted copy of the statement dated April 11, 2012 which has been listed as privileged item 4.3 of the defendants’ List of Documents.

bc injury law, Derksen v. Canada Safeway Limited, litigation privilege, Master Caldwell, There is No Privilege to a Witness of Fact

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ERIK
MAGRAKEN

Personal Injury Lawyer

When not writing the BC Injury Law Blog, Erik is the managing partner at MacIsaac & Company, based in Victoria, B.C. He is also involved with combative sports regulatory issues and authors the Combat Sports Law Blog.

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