Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Corbett Application Definition:

Canada: an application by an accused to exclude a prior criminal record from the knowledge of the jury.

Named after the 1988 Supreme Court of Canada in which the procedure was developed: R. v Corbett.

In R v Brooks, the Ontario Court of Appeal noted that Mr. Brooks, charged with murder, had brought and failed upon his Corbett application, described as an application which seeks to exclude an accused's criminal record because of its likely prejudicial effect on the jury.  In that case, Brooks had a youth record consisting of convictions for break, enter and theft and theft under and an adult record consisting of convictions for theft under, fraud, breach of probation, failure to comply with a recognizance and assault.

In R v Kinkead, Justice Simmons of the Ontario Court of Appeal remarked that the:

"... decision on a Corbett application involves determining whether the probative value of otherwise admissible evidence (i.e. evidence of an accused person’s criminal record) outweighs its potential prejudice (i.e. the likelihood that the jury will use the evidence for an improper purpose)".

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