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No Adverse Inference for Family Members Not Testifying

Koltai v. Wang 2015 BCSC 1346 was a claim for personal injuries arising from a motor vehicle accident. The plaintiff’s wife testified about the impact of his injuries on the plaintiff’s life, but the plaintiff did not call his father, sister, or brother-in-law as witnesses at trial. As a result, the defence sought an adverse inference, arguing that the latter would not have corroborated the plaintiff’s evidence and would have had helpful evidence about his post-accident condition. The Court rejected the argument, holding that these were not the type of witnesses contemplated in the adverse inference rule. The court also noted that the defence could have subpoenaed the father, at least; and that the wife had testified about the plaintiff’s post-accident condition. The plaintiff was not obliged to call every person who had knowledge of his pre- and post-accident circumstances.

Case law summary by: Fareeha Qaiser