Criminal Law and Evidence

cover picManning, Mewett and Sankoff: Criminal Law, 5th ed [co-authored with Morris Manning, Q.C.](Lexis-Nexis, 2015): A comprehensive treatise on Canadian Criminal law, this entirely revamped work addresses both the foundational principles of the criminal law and the offences in the Criminal Code, as well as defences and some procedural matters. I also co-authored the 4th ed., released in 2009.

First released in 1978, Mewett and Manning on Criminal Law has long been Canada’s leading academic treatise on criminal conduct.  The new edition is over 1400 pages and provides an entirely revamped and expanded analysis and critique of the doctrines of criminal responsibility including consideration of the theoretical foundations upon which liability is imposed and the confines required by emerging human rights norms.

The text is cited regularly in Canadian courts.  Recent examples (all citing the 4th ed.) include R. v. Tatton (Supreme Court of Canada, May 2015, citing in reference to intoxication); R. c. Larouche (Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada, April 2014, adopting definition of voyeurism offence); R. v. Bourgault (Quebec Court of Appeal, February 2014, citing  in reference to street racing); R. v. Cairney (Supreme Court of Canada, October 2013, citing in reference to provocation); R. v. A.D.H (Supreme Court of Canada, May 2013, citing in reference to abandoning a child and mens rea principles); R. v. Levkovic (Supreme Court of Canada, May 2013, citing in reference to principles of fair notice and vagueness); R. v. Ryan (Supreme Court of Canada, January 2013, citing in reference to self-defence and duress).

Witnesses (Toronto: Carswell, 1991), looseleaf (2-3 supplements annually), 2 volumes [co-authored with Alan Mewett from 1999-2001]: A comprehensive two-volume treatment of the substantive, procedural and evidentiary law relating to witnesses in civil, criminal, administrative and Parliamentary forums, first published in 1991 by Professor Alan Mewett.   Peter began working on this text in 1997 and has been its sole author since Alan Mewett’s death in 2001.  Witnesses is published by Thomson Reuters (Canada) and is available for purchase by clicking here.

Witnesses is frequently cited and its commentary adopted by Canadian court judgments, a recent sampling of which include: R v Strickland (Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal, November 2013, adopting discussion on expert witnesses and the failure to object); JR v. University of Calgary (Alberta Q.B., August 2012, adopting discussion on when to draw adverse inference against failure to call witness); W. Bryant Shears Ltd. v. Sharmat Services (Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal, March 2012, adopting position on excusing witness suffering from illness); R. v. Pattison (B.C. Supreme Court, December 2011, adopting discussion on hearsay); Polish Alliance of Canada v. Polish Association of Toronto (Ontario Divisional Court, July 2011, adopting position regarding communication with witnesses).

The Portable Guide to Witnesses, 3d ed. (Toronto: Carswell, 2014): The book is designed to be a comprehensive and practical manual for the busy litigator.  Easily accessible chapters examine a wide range of issues that lawyers face when preparing, examining or cross-examining witnesses in all manner of judicial proceedings. The Portable Guide is cross-referenced to Witnesses, which allows the practitioner to access detailed analysis and commentary away from the time-sensitive environment of the courtroom. The combined effect of these two works provides a complete treatment of the law of evidence as it applies to evidence given by witnesses in civil and criminal proceedings as well as before administrative tribunals, public inquiries and legislative committees.

The Portable Guide to Witnesses, 3d ed. is published by Thomson Reuters (Canada) and is available for purchase by clicking here.  Read a recent review of the Portable Guide!

The Evidence Act 2006 Revisited for Criminal Lawyers (Auckland: New Zealand Law Society, 2010) [co-authored with Scott Optican] This 165 pg. monograph assesses the changes wrought by The Evidence Act 2006 on New Zealand’s litigation process.  It examines the jurisprudence that has emerged in the two years since the Evidence Act revamped New Zealand evidence law and consider how significant those changes have been.

Ten topics are covered: (I) Relevance and Prejudice; (II) Eligibility and Compellability; (III) Hearsay; (IV) Examination in Chief; (V) Cross-Examination; (VI) Opinion; (VII) Identification Evidence; (VIII) Judicial Warnings; (IX) Privilege; (X) Reliability/Improperly Obtained Evidence

Canadian Encyclopedic Digest, 4th ed. – Evidence: One of Canada’s leading resource texts, the Digest provides a thorough assessment of Evidence law in Canada.  I wrote an entirely new edition of this book that was published in June 2011.  It is updated annually.