SUPREME COURT OF CANADA
Palmer v. The Queen,  1 S.C.R. 759
Douglas Garnet Palmer and Donald Palmer Appellants;
Her Majesty The Queen Respondent.
1979: June 26, 27; 1979: December 21.
Present: Laskin C.J. and Martland, Ritchie, Pigeon, Dickson, Beetz, Estey, Pratte and McIntyre JJ.
ON APPEAL FROM THE COURT OF APPEAL FOR BRITISH COLUMBIA
Criminal law — Appellants convicted of conspiring to traffic in heroin — Subsequent declarations by principal Crown witness asserting his trial evidence untrue — Refusal of Court of Appeal to admit this new evidence — No error in law on part of Court of Appeal — Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1970, c. C-34, s. 610(1)(d).
This was an appeal against the refusal of the British Columbia Court of Appeal to admit fresh evidence in the appeal of the appellants Palmer against their conviction in the Supreme Court of British Columbia before Macfarlane J. sitting without a jury upon an indictment charging a conspiracy to traffic in heroin. A separate appeal relying on the same grounds was taken by Thomas Maxwell Duncan, John Albert Smith and Robert Porter who were named conspirators in the same indictment with the Palmers and who were convicted at the same trial. (See  1 S.C.R. 783.)
One of the important witnesses called for the Crown, both at the preliminary hearing and at the trial, was one Ford, an admitted heroin trafficker and a disreputable character with a criminal record. His evidence was accepted by the trial judge and clearly played a significant part in the result. After the trial, Ford, in a series of declarations, asserted that his trial evidence was untrue, that it had been fabricated in its entirety, and that he had been influenced by threats and inducements, including the promise of payments of money, by the police. When this material came into the hands of the legal advisers of the appellants, they applied in the Court of Appeal, under s. 610(1)(d) of the Criminal Code, to adduce this new evidence in affidavit form. The application was dismissed by the Court of Appeal and the appeals of all the appellants, which raised other grounds of appeal as well, were dismissed. The present appeal was taken by leave of this Court upon two points as follows:
1. Did the Court of Appeal of British Columbia err in refusing to allow the appellants to adduce fresh evidence before it based on the affidavits and statements of the principal Crown witness Frederick Thomas Ford who received $25,000 from the police "in payment for services" about a week after the trial judgment herein?
2. Did the trial judge err in rejecting the testimony of the appellant Douglas Garnet Palmer with respect to three incidents concerning the observed movements of Frederick Thomas Ford on July 18, 1972, November 8, 1972 and January 23, 1973, when the said Ford gave no evidence on those incidents and the appellant Palmer was not cross-examined thereon, and did the Court of Appeal err in not quashing the convictions accordingly?
Held: The appeal should be dismissed.
Parliament has given the Court of Appeal a broad discretion in s. 610(1)(d). The overriding consideration must be in the words of the enactment "the interests of justice" and it would not serve the interests of justice to permit any witness by simply repudiating or changing his trial evidence to reopen trials at will to the general detriment of the administration of justice. Applications of this nature have been frequent and courts of appeal in various provinces have pronounced upon them. The following principles have emerged: (1) The evidence should generally not be admitted if, by due diligence, it could have been adduced at trial provided that this general principle will not be applied as strictly in a criminal case as in civil cases. (2) The evidence must be relevant in the sense that it bears upon a decisive or potentially decisive issue in the trial, (3) The evidence must be credible in the sense that it is reasonably capable of belief. (4) It must be such that if believed it could reasonably, when taken with the other evidence adduced at trial, be expected to have affected the result. The approach thus taken follows that of this Court in McMartin v. The Queen,  S.C.R. 484.
In the present case it was evident that the Court of Appeal applied the test of credibility and found the evidence tendered as to the validity of Ford's trial evidence to be wholly unworthy of belief. It therefore refused the motion and in so doing made no error in law which would warrant interference by this Court. Also, although it might not be necessary to do so in view of this conclusion, the view was expressed that the Court of Appeal was fully justified in reaching the conclusion it
did upon a consideration of all the evidence adduced on the motion before it and the evidence appearing in the trial transcripts.
With respect to the matter of affording protection to witnesses, in cases where the courts are, after careful examination, satisfied that only reasonable and necessary protection has been provided and that no prejudice or miscarriage of justice has resulted in consequence, they should not draw unfavourable inferences against the Crown, by reason only of this expenditure of public funds.
As to the second point raised in the appeal, the trial judge, as stated by McFarlane J.A. for the Court below, gave a careful explanation for his acceptance of the story of Ford and rejecting that of Douglas Palmer. The finding against the credibility of Palmer was made upon much more than the evidence of the three events in question. It was based upon a consideration of the whole of the evidence including the full examination and cross-examination of Palmer.
R. v. Stewart (1972), 8 C.C.C. (2d) 137; R. v. Foster (1977), 8 A.R. l; R. v. McDonald,  3 C.C.C. 426; R. v. Demeter (1975), 25 C.C.C. (2d) 417; McMartin v. The Queen,  S.C.R. 484, referred to.
APPEAL against the refusal of the Court of Appeal for British Columbia to admit fresh evidence in the appeal of the appellants Palmer against their conviction in the Supreme Court of British Columbia before Macfarlane J. sitting without a jury upon an indictment charging a conspiracy to traffic in heroin. Appeal dismissed.
Harry Walsh, Q. C., for the appellants.
Mark M. de Weerdt, Q.C., for the respondent. The judgment of the Court was delivered by
MCINTYRE J.—This is an appeal against the refusal of the British Columbia Court of Appeal to admit fresh evidence in the appeal of the appellants Palmer against their conviction in the Supreme Court of British Columbia before Macfarlane J. sitting without a jury upon an indictment charging a conspiracy to traffic in heroin. A separate appeal relying on the same grounds was taken by Thomas Maxwell Duncan, John Albert
Smith and Robert Porter who were named conspirators in the same indictment with the Palmers and who were convicted at the same trial. Although the appeals were heard together, these reasons will deal with the Palmers only.
The indictment dated November 24th, 1975, charged in count 1 a conspiracy to traffic in heroin between the 1st day of February 1969 and the 30th day of April 1975. This count is the only one in issue on this appeal. A preliminary hearing commenced in February of 1975, after a postponement from September 1974, because the witness Ford, of whom much more will be said, had then absented himself. The trial, which lasted several weeks, commenced on January 12, 1976. The appellants were found guilty on March 23, 1976.
One of the important witnesses called for the Crown, both at the preliminary hearing and at the trial, was Frederick Ford, referred to above, an admitted heroin trafficker and a disreputable character with a criminal record. His evidence was accepted by the trial judge and clearly played a significant part in the result. After the trial, Ford, in a series of declarations, asserted that his trial evidence was untrue, that it had been fabricated in its entirety, and that he had been influenced by threats and inducements, including the promise of payments of money, by the police. When this material came into the hands of the legal advisers of the appellants, they applied in the Court of Appeal to adduce this new evidence in affidavit form. The application was dismissed by the Court of Appeal and the appeals of all the appellants, which raised other grounds of appeal as well, were dismissed. This appeal is taken by leave of this Court upon two points which are set out hereunder:
1. Did the Court of Appeal of British Columbia err in refusing to allow the appellants to adduce fresh evidence before it based on the affidavits and statements of the principal Crown witness Frederick Thomas Ford who received $25,000.00 from the police "in payment for services" about a week after the trial judgment herein?
2. Did the trial Judge err in rejecting the testimony of the appellant Douglas Garnet Palmer with respect to three incidents concerning the observed movements of Frederick Thomas Ford on July 18, 1972, November 8, 1972 and January 23, 1973 when the said Ford gave no evidence on those incidents and the appellant Palmer was not cross-examined there—on, and did the Court of Appeal err in not quashing the convictions accordingly?
The principal point argued in this Court was point 1. It will, of course, be seen at once that this point raises no question as to the conduct of the trial and attacks no determination made by the trial judge. The sole issue raised relates to the disposition made by the Court of Appeal.
Ford gave evidence both at the preliminary hearing and at the trial that in June of 1971 he had approached Douglas Palmer, whom he had known for some fifteen years, and asked for a job in the drug business. After some delay, he was introduced into the business and he worked with the Palmers in the trafficking of heroin during the period covered by the indictment. He said that on numerous occasions he had received bulk heroin from Douglas Palmer. It was then his task, with the assistance of others, to put the heroin into gelatin capsules and bundles of the capsules, into glass containers and to bury the containers at locations, particulars of which he would give to Palmer. As the heroin was sold, Palmer, or others under his direction, were thus enabled to direct purchasers to the hidden heroin to complete the sales. During this period, Ford was paid for his services by Douglas Palmer.
Ford said that during the summer of 1972 he had employed his nephew to plant out caches of heroin for him. The nephew was caught by the police and Ford was able, by giving the police information which led to the arrest of one of his associates named DeRuiter, to procure the release of his nephew and have the prosecution dropped. It seems that it was this contact with the police which led Ford at or about that time to furnish information concerning the activities of the Palmers to the police.
Ford said that he received a call from Douglas Palmer on January 20, 1973, in which he was
instructed to get together all the heroin in his possession and to meet another member of the organization for the purpose of getting rid of the heroin all at once so a purchase of newer stock could be made. In compliance with these instructions, the heroin was disposed of at night by throwing it from a moving car in a garbage bag. When this was completed, Ford reported to Palmer who told him that he was fired. He gave evidence at trial of the conversation which passed between them on this occasion in these words:
A. Well, I said "What do you mean?" He said, "Well, I found out that you are the one that set up De Ruiter for the bust" he said, "So you are fired." And I just said, you know, "I don't know what you are talking about." And then I said, "Well, what about my money you owe me?" and he said, "You are not getting any money." And I said, "Well, you know, you owe me the money" and he said, "Tough", you know.
Q. How much money did he owe you at that time? A. Oh, 12,500 or something.
Q. Did you ever receive that from him? A. No.
Q. Was there any further conversation on that occasion when he terminated your services?
A. Well, other than "If I ever find out for sure it was you ...", you know, that's all. Other than that. I am lucky to be alive, that's all.
Q. I am sorry, would you speak up?
A. He said that I am lucky to be alive. If he finds out for sure that it's me that set up DeRuiter, I am in big trouble.
Ford continued trafficking independently until on January 6, 1975, he was shot in the street near his home. A police officer, one Steer, a member of the Vancouver City Police and not connected with the investigation of this case, attended at the scene of the shooting and had a conversation with Ford just before he was taken to hospital. Steer asked "Who shot you?". Ford replied "Pick up Doug Palmer". The officer then said "Did Palmer shoot you?". Ford said "Just pick up Doug Palmer". Ford was taken to hospital and while still in the emergency section had another conversation with a
Vancouver police officer named Caros. The version given by the police officer follows:
CAROS: "Who shot you?"
FORD: "I don't know."
CAROS: "You mentioned a man at the scene of the shooting."
FORD: "Yes, Doug Palmer. He didn't do it, he's too chicken. He hired someone."
CAROS: "Why did he do it?"
FORD: "Guess he didn't like me."
CAROS: "How many men involved?"
CAROS: "Did he have two guns?"
CAROS: "Did you see a car?"
CARDS: "What did he look like?"
FORD: "He had a dark mask, a toque and a dark coat on."
CARDS: "Did you know him?"
I consider it significant that moments after the shooting Ford identified Palmer as either his assailant or the instigator of the attack. The circumstances of the shooting, the earlier dismissal from the organization coupled with the disagreement about money, furnish a motive for Ford's later conduct.
After Ford's dismissal by Palmer, he agreed to testify for the Crown. The precise date of such agreement is unclear. He gave evidence at the preliminary hearing and at the trial, and on each occasion his evidence was essentially the same. He. was cross-examined closely on both occasions. He admitted that in return for his agreement to give evidence against Douglas Palmer, and for the actual giving of the evidence, he had been promised immunity from prosecution on certain charges which were outstanding against him and protection for himself and his family. To that end he said he had been paid an allowance of $1,200 per month up to the time of the trial. He said the
police had agreed as well to provide for relocation and maintenance expenses after the trial for himself and his family until they were reestablished in life and secure from danger.
The defence was a flat denial by Palmer of any involvement with drugs and with Ford. It was asserted that Ford's evidence was completely fabricated.
At the outset of the appeal, in which various other grounds were raised, the appellants moved under s. 610(1)(d) of the Criminal Code to have the Court receive evidence in the form of declarations from Douglas Palmer, Donald Palmer, Edith Twaddell and Thomas Ford. Section 610(1)(d) of the Criminal Code is set out hereunder:
610. (1) For the purposes of an appeal under this Part the court of appeal may, where it considers it in the interests of justice,
(d) receive the evidence, if tendered, of any witness, including the appellant, who is a competent but not compellable witness;
On this motion, the Court of Appeal had before it the various declarations referred to above and in addition affidavits in reply from Crown counsel and several police officers including affidavits from officers of the Vancouver Police Force concerning the words spoken by Ford after the shooting incident. Upon a consideration of this material, the Court refused the motion and disposed of the other grounds raised and dismissed the appeal.
The argument in this Court centered on the declarations made by Ford and the Crown affidavits in reply. The declaration of Edith Twaddell is of no significance and requires no further mention. The other declarations produced in support of the motion are largely explanatory of the events leading to the production of Ford's documents. Ford made four declarations dated, respectively, April 20, 1976, May 21, 1976, October 7, 1976, and October 13, 1976. In his first declaration, he said that he received $25,000 in cash from the R.C.M.P. in April 1976 for services rendered which he described as testifying in the Palmer drug conspiracy trial. He exhibited a receipt to the
declaration prepared by the R.C.M.P. which he had signed. It was on a printed form acknowledging the receipt of $25,000 from R.C.M.P. Inspector Eyman. The printed words "Payment in full for services rendered" had been struck out and the words "Payment for services" had been written in.
In his second declaration, he referred to and verified a hand written statement which he had signed dated May 21, 1976, in these terms:
May 21, 1976. To whom it may concern
Any evidence I gave at the Douglas Palmer trial in 1976 was not of my own free will. I was pressured into saying what I said and also promised payment of $60,000 dollars. I never had any drug dealings with Doug Palmer, Don Palmer, Tom Duncan or Jake Smith. Any drug dealings I had were on my own and had nothing whatsoever to do with the above mentioned names. In April 1976 I rec. $25,000 Cash from the R.C.M.P.
Also I had dealings with Roy Twaddell and he asked me to introduce him to Doug Palmer and I said I knew nothing about him and as far as I know he only dealt with me in drugs until he went to jail. Fred Ford.
Witnessed: J. Wood
J. B. Clarke
In his third declaration dated October 7, 1976, he swore to the truth of another statement he had prepared and which bears date October 7, 1976, and which is in these terms:
To whom it may concern.
My name is Frederick Thomas Ford of Vane. B.C. Everything I am about to write in this statement is the truth and I am writing it of my own free will without any threats or inducements from anyone! I started dealing in Heroin (drugs) in 1972. My nephew worked for me burying drugs and got caught, I went to the police and made a deal to turn someone in if they gave him a stay of proceedings (which they did). I talked with R.C.M.P. Staff Sgt. Jim Locker. He asked me if I knew a person named Doug Palmer, I said Yes and he said we
want him for dealing in drugs and we will let you deal in drugs without getting caught if you can help us nail Doug Palmer. I didn't really know a thing about Doug Palmer but I saw an easy way for me to stay on the street and make money. I kept telling them different stories about Palmer none of them true! In Jan. 1975 I was shot in front of my home 3475 Triumph St. The R.C.M.P. (Neil McKay) came and saw me at the hospital he said it was a hired killer paid for by Doug Palmer. I knew this was not so but in order for me to get their protection I played along with what they said. In Feb. or Mar. 1975 I went to a Preliminary hearing concerning a drug case against Doug Palmer and some assoc. I got up on the stand and made up a bunch of lies only because I didn't want to go to jail also I was promised a large cash settlement new I.D. and transportation to anywhere I wanted to go. Naturally I would not turn this down.
The R.C.M.P. kept me and provided myself and family with $1200.00 per month to live on. In Jan. 1976. They took me to the Plaza 500 Hotel on 12th Ave Vane. There Staff Sgt. Almrud, Neil McKay and other R.C.M.P. officers kept harrassing me and threatening me to get on the stand and say some things about Doug Palmer. By then I was in so deep I had to go along. Niel McKay said he could not tell me personally how much I would get but he told Corp. Hoivik to tell me I would get $60,000 some I.D. and relokate me. The Prosecutor Art McLennan and Neil McKay came to see me and threatened me with all kinds of charges if I did not give evidence at the trial of Doug Palmer. They said make sure I brought up Doug Palmer's name any chance I got. So I gave the same evidence was before (All Lies) After the trial they took me and my family to Victoria B.C. At the end of April 1976 they took me to there office on Heather St. and offered me $25,000 so I said no. Finally I went to the Bank of Commerce (Main Branch) Hastings St. with Inspector Elman and got $25,000. He said I would have to wait for the other $35,000 and take it up with Neil McKay when he got back from holidays. I'm still waiting! In regards to "Roy Twaddell" I sold him drugs for months and months. He owed me $2,000 I had him beat tip to make him pay me. It was the day after that I was shot. I believe he had it done! There is no proof, but I heard through the grape vine it was him! He couldn't possibly have been getting drugs from anyone else as he had no money. I had to give him credit every time he got heroin off of me. I believe like me he was scared and promised lots of things
to induce him to take the stand against Doug Palmer. The Police (R.C.M.P.) told me time and again they would do anything to nail Doug Palmer.
This Statement is all true—
His final declaration dated October 13, 1976, contains serious charges against the police and Crown counsel. It takes the form of answers to a series of questions put to him in writing by solicitors acting for the appellants in the matter. The questions were not leading in nature, they merely directed Ford's attention to matters and incidents that he had apparently raised. Since the answers are contained in the declaration, and provide such evidence as the declaration is capable of giving, I have omitted the questions. I reproduce the declaration hereunder:
IN THE MATTER OF FREDERICK THOMAS FORD AND DONALD PALMER, DOUGLAS GARNET PALMER, THOMAS DUNCAN, JOHN ALBERT SMITH, ROBERT PORTER AND CLIFFORD LUTHALA
I, FREDERICK THOMAS FORD, of the City of Vancouver, in the Province of British Columbia, DO SOLEMNLY DECLARE:
1) I think I met Twaddell late 1973 or early 1974. Sold him drugs of and on for 1 yr. Was introduced to him through Oscar Hansen on the 1900 Turner St. I sold him drugs on credit!
2) Neil McKay and Art Mclennan [Crown counsel] came to the Plaza 500 Hotel in January 1976 and told me I had better testify at Doug Palmer's trial or I would have so many charges against me I would never see day light. Also they said you'll be killed as soon as you get in the Pen (jail). Also they said to use Doug P. name every chance I got!
3) They said not to mention money promised only to answer that I would be relocated elsewhere not to elaborate any further. This was said to me many times.
4) They came to me in Jan. 1976, at Plaza 500 and showed me pictures of Doug P., his brother, Roy Dorn, Tom Duncan, and many others and the same thing as before. Kept insisting I take stand and give evidence against Doug P. They said they really wanted him.
5) It was in 1975 Jan. I was shot! They put me into protective custody. I was really scared! I would have done or said almost anything at that point. They said they would pay me $25,000 and relocate me. I agreed! They are—Neil McKay and Art Mclennan.
6) Stayed at Plaza 500 1 wk. before and 1 wk. after. Corporal Art Hoivik was instructed to make sure I read transcripts and to memorize. He read me questions and I answered them.
7) Neil McKay came to see me after and kept on insisting I testify or I would be charged with many charges. He kept saying Doug P. had me shot and it was my only way to get even.
8) My nerves were shot. So the R.C.M.P. on Neil McKay's orders went to a doctor and get me sleeping pills (I was taking 3 at once) also I had codine pills 1 wk. before and 1 wk. after trial.
9) Same as question (2).
10) I had 2 robbery and poss. jewellery against me they said these would be dropped. But if I did not testify I would be charged with a lot more than that!
11) Art Mclennan came to see me 2 or three times at Plaza 500. He also said I had no choice but to testify at Doug P. trial. He said you will make money and be clear of all charges. If you don't testify you will have many charges against you.
12) Neil McKay and Art Mclennan both told me I would be paid the date after I gave my evidence!
13) After I gave my evidence Neil McKay Art Hoivik and other R.C.M.P. officers were in room with me. They all said we have got Palmer for sure now.
14) While at Plaza 500 I told Staff Sgt. Almrud I would not testify for $25,000. He said how much do you
want? I said $60,000. He( said I do not have the authority to authorize it, I'll be back later with answer. He came back a couple of hours later and said okay you can have $60,000 if you give evidence, Art Hoivik was there at the time. He also told me Neil McKay said $60,000 but for me not to mention money on stand.
15) Neil McKay told Corp. Hoivik to tell me about money as if he told me himself and was asked directly on stand about money and me he would have to answer truthfully, but if someone else told me he could say I never talked with Mr. Ford regarding any monies.
16) Same as No. (14).
17) Art Mclennan gave the transcripts to Neil McKay and he gave them to me. They both said to read trans. and to be more specific!
18) Neil McKay Art Mclennan and every R.C.M.P. officer I came in contact with kept saying I should testify against D. Palmer.
19) As I've said before—I was in 24 hr. contact with R.C.M.P. they all kept at me to testify and nail D. Palmer.
20) Went to Heather St. as it is main office. Inspector Ehman was there. He took me to Main Branch of C. Imperial Commerce on Hastings. Signed money draft and I was paid right in Bank. Cash and travellers cheques. I told him I was to get $60,000 not $25,000. He said he was not aware of this but to take it up with Neil McKay and Inspector White when they returned from holidays in 2 wks. Which I did. They said they were sorry but Ottawa would not pay anymore than $25,000. I'm still waiting for my other $35,000.00.
21) Met White after I was shot. He said in his office that any deals I was to make would be through Neil McKay.
22) Have telephoned Art Mclellan and he said he told R.C.M.P. to pay me the other $35,000. He can't understand why they haven't kept up there part of bargain!
23) Whenever I refer to D. Palmer or Doug P. in this statutory declaration I am in fact referring to Douglas Palmer.
AND I make this solemn declaration, conscientiously believing it to be true and knowing that it is of the same
force and effect as if made under oath and by virtue of the "Canada Evidence Act".
DECLARED before me at the City of Vancouver, in the Province of British Columbia, this 13th day of October, A.D. 1976,
Frederick Thomas Ford
A commissioner for taking Affidavits for British Columbia
In reply to this motion, the Crown filed extensive material. Arthur MacLennan, Crown counsel, denied, in his affidavit, all improprieties alleged by Ford. He swore that he saw Ford in the Plaza Hotel only once. They had an interview lasting three or four minutes during which he showed Ford some photographs and left a transcript of Ford's evidence taken at the preliminary hearing so any mistakes could be corrected. He explained his actions regarding money in paras. 6, 7 and 8 in these words:
6. THAT I at no time, nor did Sgt. McKay at any time in my presence, say to Ford that he would receive $25,000.00 or any sum whatsoever, nor that Ford would be paid the day after he gave his evidence, or at any time;
7. THAT in or about the month of May 1976, Ford telephoned me to request that I assist him in obtaining a further $35,000.00 from the RCM Police. At that time I had become aware that Ford had already received $25,000.00 in lieu of the relocation arrangements to which he had testified at the trial. I told Ford that notwithstanding he had himself elected after the trial to receive $25,000.00 instead of the relocation he had been promised, I had already tried to get for him some additional money because I felt he might come to harm if he remained in the Vancouver vicinity; that a lump sum payment totalling $60,000.00 was perhaps not excessive to keep him out of danger until he could establish himself elsewhere. I also informed Ford on that occasion that a superintendent of the RCM Police had refused to recommend payment of any further money as considered Ford's insistence on a further payment to be close to blackmail. Ford replied that he would never try to blackmail the RCMP; that he had already given his evidence and was not about to change that;
8. THAT I never at any time told Ford I could not understand why the RCMP had not "kept up their part of the bargain;"
The various police officers mentioned by Ford in his declarations denied any impropriety in their affidavits. They denied any harassing of Ford or the putting of any pressures upon him. From their affidavits the Crown position is made clear. There was an arrangement with Ford that he would give evidence against the Palmers. At the preliminary hearing as at the trial Ford admitted the particulars of this arrangement. A condition of the arrangement was that the police would provide protection, and maintenance payments in the amount of $1,200 a month, until the trial was over. Thereafter provision would be made for the maintenance and relocation of Ford and his family, as well as for their protection until he could reestablish himself elsewhere. The payments made for relocation would have included travelling and moving expenses and, if necessary, a down payment on a new house. Pursuant to this arrangement, Ford gave evidence at the preliminary and no difficulties arose until just before the trial.
According to the police affidavits, at that time Ford seemed to have changed his mind. He decided that he wanted a cash payment rather than relocation expenses as agreed. He requested a sum in the neighbourhood of $50,000 and indicated that he would go to England to live after the trial and from this cash payment he would cover his own expenses. The police officers who were responsible for the immediate custody and protection of Ford agreed to take the matter up with superior officers and, in discussions between themselves, considered that a $60,000 payment would not be unreasonable in the circumstances. This figure would presumably have replaced all payments for maintenance, moving and relocation expenses until Ford was reestablished after trial and what could be required for a down payment on a house. It is not clear from the evidence what recommendations were made to superior officers on this subject but the Crown, after the trial, was prepared to pay only $25,000. This payment was arranged by R.C.M.P. Inspector Eyman who met
Ford, took him to the bank, procured $25,000 by cashing a cheque, and gave it to Ford in cash and travellers cheques. At the time of payment, he procured the receipt from Ford exhibited to Ford's first declaration. The Crown submits that Ford, dissatisfied by the payment of $25,000, and no doubt influenced by fear as well, has changed his story.
The Court of Appeal, when dealing with the motion, had before it in addition to the materials already referred to some fifty-four volumes of evidence from the preliminary hearing and the trial and therefore had a much greater knowledge of the evidence than could be drawn from the brief summary I have set out above. In dealing with the motion, McFarlane J. A., speaking for the Court, said:
Section 610(1) provides that for the purposes of an appeal under Part XVIII of the Code the Court of Appeal may, if it considers it in the interests of justice, receive the evidence of any witness. Parliament has here given the Court a broad discretion to be exercised having regard to its view of the interests of justice. In my opinion it would not serve the interests of justice to receive the tendered evidence of Ford and Twaddell because it is simply not capable of belief. I am satisfied that it is untrue and that any intelligent adult would reject it as wholly untrustworthy. Moreover, the trial Judge was well aware of the weaknesses in the testimony of Ford and Twaddell. He had not found them to be honourable, upright witnesses but he accepted testimony which they gave because it was consistent with, and in harmony with, other testimony placed before him. He found the testimony, not the witnesses, to be credible. In my opinion the tendered evidence if adduced before the trial Judge or other tribunal of fact could not possibly affect the verdict. This view is in accord with the decision of this Court in R. v. Stewart (1972), 8 C.C.C. (2d) 137.
I have considered the judgments of the Supreme Court of Canada in McMartin v. The Queen  S.C.R. 484 and Horsburgh v. The Queen  S.C.R. 746. I find nothing in those judgments which requires me to accept this evidence. With particular reference to the latter judgment, I should add that I do not reject the evidence of Ford on the ground that he testified and was cross-examined at the trial.
Parliament has given the Court of Appeal a broad discretion in s. 610(1)(d). The overriding consideration must be in the words of the enactment "the interests of justice" and it would not serve the interests of justice to permit any witness by simply repudiating or changing his trial evidence to reopen trials at will to the general detriment of the administration of justice. Applications of this nature have been frequent and courts of appeal in various provinces have pronounced upon them—see for example Regina v. Stewart; Regina v. Foster; Regina v. McDonald; Regina v. Demeter. From these and other cases, many of which are referred to in the above authorities, the following principles have emerged:
(1) The evidence should generally not be admitted if, by due diligence, it could have been adduced at trial provided that this general principle will not be applied as strictly in a criminal case as in civil cases: see McMartin v. The Queen.
(2) The evidence must be relevant in the sense that it bears upon a decisive or potentially decisive issue in the trial.
(3) The evidence must be credible in the sense that it is reasonably capable of belief, and
(4) It must be such that if believed it could reasonably, when taken with the other evidence adduced at trial, be expected to have affected the result.
The leading case on the application of s. 610(1) of the Criminal Code is McMartin v. The Queen, supra. Ritchie J., for the Court, made it clear that while the rules applicable to the introduction of new evidence in the Court of Appeal in civil cases should not be applied with the same force in criminal matters, it was not in the best interests of justice that evidence should be so admitted as a matter of course. Special grounds must be shown to justify the exercise of this power by the appellate
court. He considered that special grounds existed because of the nature of the evidence sought to be adduced and he considered that it should not be refused admission because of any supposed lack of diligence in procuring the evidence for trial. The test he applied on this question was expressed in these terms at p. 493:
With the greatest respect, it appears to me that the evidence tendered by the appellant on such an application as this is not to be judged and rejected on the ground that it "does not disprove the verdict as found by the jury" or that it fails to discharge the burden of proving that the appellant was incapable of planning and deliberation, or that it does not rebut inferences which appear to have been drawn by the jury. It is enough, in my view, if the proposed evidence is of sufficient strength that it might reasonably affect the verdict of a jury.
The evidence was admitted and a new trial ordered.
In my view, the approach taken in the authorities cited above follows that of this Court in McMartin. The evidence in question in the case at bar was not available at trial and it would be, if received, relevant to the issue of guilt on the part of the Palmers. The evidence sought to be introduced in McMartin was evidence of an expert opinion not of matters of fact and therefore no issue of credibility in the ordinary sense arose. It is clear, however, that in dealing with matters of fact a consideration of whether, in the words of Ritchie J., the evidence possessed sufficient strength that "it might reasonably affect the verdict of the jury" involves a consideration of its credibility as well as its probative force if presented to the trier of fact.
Because the evidence was not available at trial and because it bears on a decisive issue, the inquiry in this case is limited to two questions. Firstly, is the evidence possessed of sufficient credibility that it might reasonably have been believed by the trier of fact? If the answer is no that ends the matter but if yes the second question presents itself in this form. If presented to the trier of fact and
believed, would the evidence possess such strength or probative force that it might, taken with the other evidence adduced, have affected the result? If the answer to the second question is yes, the motion to adduce new evidence would have to succeed and a new trial be directed at which the evidence could be introduced.
It is evident that the Court of Appeal applied the test of credibility and found the evidence tendered as to the validity of Ford's trial evidence to be wholly unworthy of belief. It therefore refused the motion and in so doing made no error in law which would warrant interference by this Court. While it may not be necessary to do so in view of this conclusion, I express the view that the Court of Appeal was fully justified in reaching the conclusion it did upon a consideration of all the evidence adduced on the motion before it and the evidence appearing in the trial transcripts.
It was argued for the appellants that Ford's trial evidence was totally fabricated as a result of police pressures and inducements. In his declarations, Ford says that he was frightened and under pressure and accordingly when the time for the preliminary hearing came he merely got in the witness box and made up a bunch of lies. It should be noted, however, that at the trial, almost a year later, he gave the same evidence and, despite strenuous cross-examination on both occasions, no assertion is made that there was any significant difference in the evidence. The accurate repetition of extemporaneous inventions after such a long interval would be a remarkable performance on Ford's part under any circumstances but, when one adds the fact that the trial judge considered that his evidence was in harmony with the general picture of events which emerged from the evidence of many other witnesses, it becomes impossible to believe that the evidence was fabricated on the spur of t e moment. Furthermore, it should be observed that the modification of the financial arrangements with Ford occurred, according to Ford's own declaration, after the preliminary hearing where he had given evidence and before the
trial when, it is conceded, he repeated it. It is impossible to believe that the nature of his evidence given at trial was affected by the payment or promise of money. Considering the suggestion that this arrangement was undisclosed and that the trial judge could therefore have been misled in his assessment of Ford's credibility, reference may be made to a passage in his reasons for judgment where he said:
Ford testifies that the police promised to protect him and his family if he gave evidence on behalf of the Crown, and that they have fulfilled this promise by paying for the cost of relocating him and his family, and of maintaining them since February 1975. The cost of such maintenance said to have been $l,200 a month.
A careful review of the police evidence drawn from the affidavits filed confirms the version of the agreement made with Ford which he himself described in evidence at the trial. The police contention that Ford changed his mind shortly before the trial and wanted cash in lieu of unspecified relocation expenses is confirmed, at least in part, by Ford's later acceptance of the sum of $25,000 and his insistence upon more. It seems clear that he abandoned the original arrangement in favour of a sum of money as contended by the police. It was argued that the police had offered $60,000 when all that Ford had sought was $50,000. The police affidavits confirm that Ford requested a sum in the neighbourhood of $50,000. It also appears from the affidavits that the police officers themselves said, after some discussion between themselves, that they would recommend $60,000 to their superior officers. When it is considered that this payment was to be in lieu of all other provision for Ford after the trial and that it would serve to cover all the expenses involved in maintenance for Ford and his family including travel and relocation expenses and even a possible down payment on a new house, it does not seem an unreasonable amount.
The manner of payment of the $25,000 to Ford, which involved no secrecy and was done openly by cheque, negates improper motives on the part of the police. The use of the words "services rendered" and "services" on the receipt has, in my
opinion, no sinister significance. It is evident that these words were employed to describe the arrangement here discussed. In my opinion, the rejection of Ford's evidence by the Court of Appeal was amply justified.
I cannot leave this part of the case without making some general remarks upon the situation it reveals. There can be no doubt that from time to time the interests of justice will require that Crown witnesses in criminal cases be protected. Their lives and the lives of their families and the safety of their property may be endangered. In such cases the use of public funds to provide the necessary protection will not be improper. When the need arises, the form of protection and the amount and method of the disbursement of moneys will vary widely and it is impossible to predict the precise form the required protection will take.
The dangers inherent in this situation are obvious. On the one hand, interference with witnesses cannot be tolerated because the integrity of the entire judicial process depends upon the ability of parties to causes in the courts to call witnesses who can give their evidence free from fears and external pressures, secure in the knowledge that neither they nor the members of their families will suffer in retaliation. On the other hand, the courts must be astute to see that no steps are taken, in affording protection to witnesses, which would influence evidence against the accused or in any way prejudice the trial or lead to a miscarriage of justice. However, in cases where the courts are, after careful examination, satisfied that only reasonable and necessary protection has been provided and that no prejudice or miscarriage of justice has resulted in consequence, they should not draw unfavourable inferences against the Crown, by reason only of this expenditure of public funds.
It must be recognized that when cases of this nature arise, charges of bribery of witnesses will, from time to time, be made. It is for this reason that the courts must be on guard to detect and to deal severely with any attempt to influence or corrupt witnesses. The courts must discharge this duty with the greatest care to ensure that while no impropriety upon the part of the Crown will be
permitted, the provision of reasonable and necessary protection for witnesses is not a prohibited practice. In the United States, there are statutory provisions expressly contemplating such expenditure under the authority of the Attorney General.
I now turn to the second point raised in this appeal. There was evidence at trial, resulting from police surveillance, that Ford and Douglas Palmer met on three separate occasions. It was presumably led to afford some evidence of association between them. On July 18, 1972, Ford was seen to leave a car and walk up Palmer's driveway then return to the car in three or four minutes and depart. Ford, in giving evidence in chief, was not asked about this incident and he was not cross-examined about it. Palmer disclaimed any knowledge of Ford's visit. On November 8, 1972, Palmer was seen travelling in Ford's automobile as a passenger with Ford driving. Ford was not examined or cross-examined on this incident. Palmer said that he had been waiting at a bus stop near his home because he was going to pick up a truck which was under repair and Ford happened by in his car and gave him a lift. The event he said was not prearranged. On January 23, 1973, at 11:30 p.m., Ford was observed leaving his automobile from which he went down a driveway to Palmer's house and spoke to Douglas Palmer for a few minutes then returned to his car and left. Ford, as before, gave no evidence relating to this event and was not cross-examined upon it. Palmer said that Ford had come to his house and offered to sell some tires at a reasonable price and Palmer had merely sent him away. Palmer was not cross-examined on his evidence relating to the three meetings.
The trial judge found that Palmer was not a credible witness and indicated that he was not willing to accept his testimony on important matters. In dealing with this question, he made reference to these incidents as well as much other evidence. Counsel for Palmer objects to this on the basis that Palmer's version of what occurred on these occasions stands uncontroverted and, particularly in view of the Crown's failure to examine Ford upon these matters, it is argued that the trial
judge should have accepted Palmer's version of events and not drawn inferences adverse to him. The point was summarized in the appellants' factum in these words:
It is submitted that the Court of Appeal for British Columbia erred in concluding that it was not necessary for the prosecution to have examined Ford in-chief with respect to the three incidents and that it was not necessary to cross-examine the Appellant Douglas Garnet Palmer when he testified with respect to the said three incidents. Had the Court of Appeal for British Columbia found that the learned trial Judge had erred in rejecting the testimony of Douglas Garnet Palmer with respect to the said three incidents then the basis for the learned trial Judge's acceptance of Ford's testimony would have disappeared and the Court of Appeal would then have quashed the convictions against the Appellants.
In dealing with this argument in the Court of Appeal, McFarlane J.A. said for the Court:
The second ground of appeal argued was that the trial Judge should have found that the evidence of Douglas Palmer raised at least a reasonable doubt of his guilt. With particular reference to the three occasions to which I have just referred, it was said that Palmer's evidence was not shaken in cross-examination and it is suggested he was not specifically questioned about one or two of them. Reference was made to Browne v. Dunn (1894) The Reports 67 and to Rex v. Hart (1932) 23 C.A.R. 202. I respectfully agree with the observation of Lord Morris in the former case at page 79:
I therefore wish it to be understood that I would not concur in ruling that it was necessary in order to impeach a witnesses' credit, that you should take him through the story which he had told, giving him notice by questions that you impeached his credit.
In my opinion the effect to be given to the absence or brevity of cross-examination depends upon the circumstances of each case. There can be no general or absolute rule. It is a matter of weight to be decided by the tribunal of fact, vide: Sam v. Canadian Pacific Limited (1976) 63 D.L.R. (3d) 294 and cases cited there by Robertson, J.A. at 315-7. In the present case Douglas Palmer was cross-examined extensively. It seems to me the circumstances are such that it must have been foreseen his credit would be attacked if he testified to his innocence. In any event, this was made plain when he was cross-examined. The trial Judge gave a careful explanation for his acceptance of the story of Ford and
rejecting that of Douglas Palmer. I cannot give effect to this ground of appeal.
I am in full agreement with these words and I do not consider it necessary to add to them save to emphasize that the finding against the credibility of Palmer was made upon much more than the evidence of these three events. It was based upon a consideration of the whole of the evidence including the full examination and cross-examination of Palmer. I would dismiss the appeal.
Solicitors for the appellants: Walsh, Micay & Co., Winnipeg.
Solicitor for the respondent: Roger Tassé, Ottawa.