Litigants are expected to come to court and tell the truth and mostly they do, but in the case of Sidhu v. Sidhu 2019 BCSC 946 the trial judge found that “Neither party came to trial intending to tell the truth.”
After a 2018 trial, Reasons were handed down in March 2019, and were followed by an application by the respondent wife for costs, including double costs, stemming from a settlement offer made before the trial.
In considering the costs application, Mr.Justice Funt noted that in advance of the trial each party swore a false Form 8 Financial Statement. He remarked that a Form 8 is an “important document tantamount to a pleading.”
With respect to the claim for double costs on the basis that the offer she made to her husband should have been accepted by him, the judge remarked that when an offer is made based on a fraudulent Form 8 it cannot be said to be an offer that should be accepted under the Supreme Court Family Rules. Validating such an offer would be condoning lies and improper financial disclosure. The judge also found that documents submitted by the wife at trial were fabrications.
However, the husband’s conduct was no better. He also came to court with lies and “sham” documents, but he was smart enough not to ask for costs.
The Court expressed its dismay with the parties’ “evidentiary concoctions” meant to “hoodwink” the Court.
As a result, while the judge granted the parties’ divorce, all other relief sought was dismissed, as were costs. The husband was, however, awarded special costs of the wife’s costs application.