29 Sep Perjury at Trial

In the case of Dizon v. Losier, 2017 BCSC 431, the Plaintiff was injured when his SUV was hit from behind by a truck driven by the Defendant.  At trial, the Plaintiff said that the light had turned amber and he decided to stop. The Defendant’s version of events was somewhat different.  He maintained that he had accelerated to go through the green light and saw no obstruction in the intersection.  He was not only surprised by the Plaintiff’s sudden stop in front of him but was unable to stop in time to avoid hitting the back of his vehicle.

A unique issue that arose in this case was that of the Defendant’s perjury, which significantly undermined the reliability of his evidence. The Defendant called a witness who provided completely concocted evidence about seeing the Plaintiff’s car stop for no reason just before the accident. This witness denied knowing the Defendant before the accident and said he had responded to a notice posted by the Defendant asking for witnesses to the accident. However, Facebook evidence brought up in cross-examination proved that the witness and the Defendant were acquainted before the accident. In light of that evidence, the Court found that the two of them developed a statement for the witness to sign that was completely untrue. In fact, the witness had not seen the accident occurring as he had stated under oath. That this evidence amounted to perjury, for which both participants could have been prosecuted, was not lost on the Defendant and he apologized to the Court.

Despite the perjury, the Court found the evidence supported the Defendant’s contention that the Plaintiff played a key role in causing the accident.  In suddenly braking, the Plaintiff failed to take reasonable care for his own interests, an action that was causally connected to his injuries.  However, the Court also found that the Defendant was following too closely. Had he not been following so closely, he would have been able to avoid the accident. The Defendant was found to be 85% responsible for the accident and the Plaintiff was found responsible for the remaining 15%.

As a result of the Defendant’s perjury, the Plaintiff was awarded one day of special costs for the unnecessary delay in this matter for the consideration of the perjured evidence from the Defendant.