5.31: Use of transcript and answers to written questions

Case Summary

In an estate Action, the Applicant, Krezanoski sought to have two Wills declared invalid on the basis that they were the product of undue influence exerted by the executrix and beneficiary, Maryann Seafoot (“Maryann”).

Renke J. noted that Maryann was questioned in December 2015, and that portions of her Questioning were read-in at the Hearing. Justice Renke commented that pursuant to Rule 5.31, a party may read in portions of evidence from a Questioning transcript “as against a party adverse in interest”. Read-in evidence should be considered with, and treated in the same manner, as any other evidence, in light of the burden of proof. The Court is not bound to accept or follow read-in evidence any more than it must accept other evidence. Additionally, read-in evidence may support favourable or unfavourable inferences. The burden is on the party reading-in the evidence to show that the evidence supports his or her position.

Justice Renke reviewed the evidence, including the read-in evidence, and concluded that Maryann unduly influenced the deceased, and that the Wills were the result of her undue influence. His Lordship held that the Wills were therefore invalid and granted the Application.

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