For a recent summary of the doctrine of spoliation, see the decision in Stillwell v. World Kitchen,  ONSC 3354 (S.C.J.).
plaintiff brought an action against the manufacturer of a dutch oven
that broke into four pieces as he was washing it, causing a severe
laceration to his wrist. The plaintiff told his wife to dispose of the product shortly
after the incident. He testified that he gave no thought to a lawsuit
at the time; he simply did not want to see the pot when he returned home
At trial, one
of the issues was whether the jury should be charged on spoliation.
Justice Leach held he would not charge the jury on
spoliation. Spoliation gives rise to a rebuttable presumption of fact
that the missing evidence, had it been preserved, would have been
unfavourable to the party that destroyed it; however, an adverse
inference does not arise merely because the evidence has been
destroyed. There must be intentional destruction in circumstances where
it can reasonably be inferred that evidence was destroyed to affect the
litigation. There was no evidence that the plaintiff intentionally
destroyed the dutch oven, so the doctrine of spoliation would not be put
to the jury.