The appellant was convicted of carnal knowledge of a female child under the age of 14. During trial the complainant claimed to not remember anything about the night in question or even where she lived, her mother’s occupation or place of work, or where her best friend lived. When the complainant continued to “evince no desire to cooperate with prosecuting counsel” and stated her previous statement to the prosecution about the night in question was untrue, the trial court granted the prosecution permission to treat the complainant as a hostile witness. However, the Court of Appeal faulted the trial court for the fact there is “no indication in the record that the judge took the steps dictated by long established practice in this jurisdiction to demonstrate that [the trial judge] formed, at the proper time, the opinion that [the complainant], being then a child of only 13 years, understood the nature of an oath.” Given the importance of the sworn testimony of the complainant on the identification of the appellant, the court ordered a retrial and granted bail on the condition the appellant stayed away from the complainant and her family.
Meyers v. The Queen