What is the test for credibility?

British Columbia, Canada

The following excerpt is from R. v. Whitman, 2005 BCSC 1574 (CanLII):

Credibility is a difficult issue comprised of a number of complicated and subtle ingredients which may, however, be easily expressed. One may say, I accept, I reject or I have doubts, as to what I have been told, all based on the observations of the narrator. Each of these ingredients may be difficult, if not impossible, to describe or articulate. In White v. The King, 1947 CanLII 1 (SCC), [1947] S.C.R. 268 at 272, Estey J. wrote: The issue of credibility is one of fact and cannot be determined by following a set of rules that it is suggested have the force of law... Anglin J. (later Chief Justice) in speaking of credibility stated: by that I understand not merely the appreciation of the witnesses’ desire to be truthful but also of their opportunities of knowledge and powers of observation, judgment and memory -in a word, the trustworthiness of their testimony, which may have depended very largely on their demeanour in the witness box and their manner in giving evidence... The foregoing is a general statement and does not purport to be exhaustive. Eminent judges have from time to time indicated certain guides that have been of the greatest assistance but so far as I have been able to find there has never been an effort made to indicate all the possible factors that might enter into the determination. It is a matter in which so many human characteristics, both the strong and the weak, must be taken into consideration. The general integrity and intelligence of the witness, his power to observe, his capacity to remember and his accuracy in statement are important. It is also important to determine whether he is honestly endeavouring to tell the truth, whether he is sincere and frank or whether he is biassed [biased], reticent and evasive. All these questions and others may be answered from the observation of the witness' general conduct and demeanour in determining the question of credibility. [Underlining mine]

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