Witnesses - Victims
The increased vulnerability of an FASD victim is generally aggravating at sentence, particularly in the case of sexual offences. However, in cases where the accused has been tried in the connection with some kind of physical abuse of a child, the challenging behaviours exhibited by the child as a result of FASD and concurrent disorders can elicit sympathy from the sentencing judge for an offender who was trying his best (R. v. Harris, 2011 ABCA 41, R. v. Wahpay,  O.J. No. 2300 (PC)).
FASD can pose challenges for the reliability of a witness, particularly if a significant amount of time has elapsed between the offence and the trial. The trier should approach the evidence cautiously (R. v. Inyallie,  B.C.J. No. 2851, R. v. Titmus, 2004 BCCA 633), and sometimes it is excluded as unreliable (R. v. Switzer, 2004 ABQB 360, R. v. A.R.,  O.J. No. 1320, R. v. R.L.,  O.J. No. 5307 (S.C.), R. v. Lyons,  O.J. No. 3596 (S.C.) , R. v. J.A.R., 2012 BCPC 241). Where an earlier statement has been taken from the witness, that might be admissible as evidence at trial instead of or in addition to viva voce testimony (R. v. Carroll, 1999 BCCA 65, R. v. Land, 2012 ONSC 3989).
In terms of credibility, a witness with FASD should not be assessed with the same yardstick as other adults (R. v. E.H.S., 2012 BCPC 450). As well, the lack of guile and wit means an account is less likely to be fabricated (E.H.S.).
An FASD diagnosis is relevant background information in the context of a given witness, and related records can be subject to a disclosure order (R.L.).
Compromised ability to communicate has also caused one judge to admit a victim impact statement drafted by the social worker of a complainant (R. v. Sam, 2005 YKSC 2).
Below is a list of cases: