Edmonton Sun

Thursday, January 16, 2003

Lie detector ruled out

By KEVIN MARTIN -- Sun Media
Edmonton Sun

CALGARY -- A dad who says he has been falsely accused of sexual abuse can't use polygraph results to gain a favourable psychological report in a custody battle, a judge said yesterday.

Justice Rosemary Nation granted an application by the lawyer for the man's ex-wife to exclude the findings of a lie detector test during a court-ordered assessment.

Nation agreed with lawyer Max Blitt that the results were inadmissible because they amounted to "oath helping" to bolster the credibility of the dad.

The father, who can't be identified, had filed an affidavit from a retired RCMP polygraph examiner which said the dad was truthful when he denied molesting his now five-year-old daughter.

But Nation said a psychologist appointed to prepare a report on both parents should not view the affidavit when he reviews the court file.

"It does cause me some concerns that the polygraph results are on the file and they would be reviewed by the expert," Nation said.

"The (lie detector) findings will be hotly contested at trial," she said. "The admissibility of that evidence is in issue."

Nation said the expert can be told the father volunteered to take a polygraph exam, but the results should not be given to the psychologist.

Louise Malenfant, a self-proclaimed family advocate with the group Parents Helping Parents, said she was disappointed the findings would not be viewed by the expert.

"Forensic psychologists wrote the book on polygraphs," she said outside court. "It's only one piece of evidence," said Malenfant, who has been assisting the father in preparing his case.

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