HABTE v LEWIS, 2015 ABQB 684


5.2: When something is relevant and material
5.25: Appropriate questions and objections

Case Summary

The Plaintiff issued a Statement of Claim against a police detective (“Lewis”), and others, who allegedly assaulted him during an arrest. Lewis was also subject to criminal and disciplinary proceedings as a result of being charged for allegedly trafficking steroids. During Questioning, counsel for the Plaintiff asked Lewis if he was using steroids at the time of the alleged assault. Counsel for Lewis objected on the basis that the question was not relevant. A second Defendant (“Humphreys”) was asked whether she was aware of any steroid use by Lewis, and counsel also instructed her to not answer the question.

The Plaintiff sought an Order against Lewis and Humphreys compelling them to answer the questions. Lewis and Humphrey opposed the Application on the basis that the questions were not relevant or material to the civil proceeding. Lewis also objected on the basis that the answers may be relied upon in the criminal and disciplinary proceedings, which would result in prejudice to him. The Plaintiff submitted that whether or not Lewis was using steroids was relevant and material to the central question of whether Lewis used unwarranted and excessive force during the arrest. Macklin J. reviewed Rule 5.2 for the delineation of what is “relevant and material”, and held that the assessment of whether the force used was objectively reasonable in the circumstances was irrelevant to whether Lewis was using steroids at the time. Questions relating to how Lewis recalled the events due to the steroids’ side effects could be seen to be relevant and material to his credibility. However, there was no evidence to suggest the use of steroids could impact one’s recollection of events. Further, questions that go solely to credibility are not permissible at Questioning. Justice Macklin dismissed the Application to compel answers from Lewis and Humphreys relating to Lewis’ use of steroids.

View CanLII Details