ACFI Mock Trial – “The Expert”

Witness the presentation of expert forensic evidence in a Canadian commercial trial setting and the subsequent cross-examination of the expert. This trial emphasizes best and most professional practices, as well as the most common errors made by some forensic investigators. The participants, leaders in their respective fields, add a little humour to this informative session and allow time for a post-mortem at the end of the trial.

What you will learn:

  • Common errors some experts make while delivering testimony in court  
  • Do’s and don’ts of providing testimony  
  • The need to be well prepared  
  • The need to simplify knowledge  
  • How to maintain credibility  
  • The need to be objective and thorough in all relevant reports and logs
The Expert Trial Actors

Run time approx 2:30 

In this package is a video of a model examination, cross-examination, and re-examination of an expert, with an accompanying PDF containing the documents referred to by the expert during the course of his testimony at a mock trial held in the course of an ACFI conference held 15 years ago. This package is more relevant now than when it was taped in 2004, because while it was a model of best practices at that time, it now a model of standard or expected practices today.  In other words, it reflected a “hoped for” level of performance at the time it was taped, and an average or common level of conduct for expert witnesses today.  As such this package assists not only the expert who has never  testified at trial,  and the seasoned expert who has not testified recently and needs to be brought up to speed about current, standard, practices.  

 As a “best practices” demonstration, the model examination was conducted by two of the  best lawyers and one of the best forensic accounting experts in Canada, “adjudicated” by a highly respected, sitting,  trial judge.  Periodically, the presentation is interrupted by an experienced trial lawyer to comment on how the expert might have improved his presentation of his opinion,  which any prospective expert will find especially helpful because the expert’s testimony appears flawless on its face. 

The two and half hours of the video consists of an examination in chief of expert Ken Froese hat lasts about 40 minutes, a brilliant cross-examination by the eminent John Rosen hat lasts approximately 50 minutes, and a short re-examination.   The remainder of the video contains commentary, and a de-briefing by the participants in front of conference attendees. Justice Gans ‘ comments during the panel de-briefing segment should be required viewing for anyone who will be testifying in any forum anywhere in the world. Because of the higher standard of conduct expected of experts now, this package is more relevant and important to  today than when it was produced.

David Debenham, LLB, LLM, MBA, CFI, CFE, CMA, ACIS, DIFA, MFAcc – 2019

This Mock Trial “The Expert” was initially presented to the ACFI 6th Annual Fraud Conference on Monday, May 17, 2004, allowing attendees the rare opportunity to witness the presentation of expert forensic evidence in a commercial trial setting and the subsequent cross-examination of the expert. The trial emphasizes best and most professional practices, as well as the most common errors made by some forensic investigators. Please note that mistakes were purposely made in order to highlight such errors for training purposes and the viewer should not be under the illusion that several of the questions or comments asked or made would be part of a real case. Leslie A. Wittlin, LL.B., CFI of Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP, and past President of the ACFI Board of Directors, was the narrator for this session and, since the taping, has inserted further commentary.

Narrator Les Wittlin brings his expertise to both mock trials with his presentation of the case, and educational clips throughout. Les highlights best practices and common errors made, with clear and concise insight. These are learning tools like you’ve never seen before.

Background Documents in the PDF – Various background documents are referred to during the trial. We suggest you print these off prior to viewing the proceedings.

Exhibit A: Chart (1 page)
Exhibit B: Fact Situation (5 pages)
Exhibit C: Expert’s Report (12 pages)
Exhibit D: Expert Witness’ CV (1 page)
Exhibit E: Visa Statement (2 pages)
Exhibit F: Western Division General Journal Entries – extract (1 page)