Is Slip of the Tongue During Trial a Reversible Error ?
"A mere verbal inaccuracy in a charge, which results from a palpable slip of the tongue, and clearly could not have misled or confused the jury is not reversible error." Fruhling v. State, 233 Ga. App. 544, 545 (5) (505 S.E.2d 47) (1998).
X complains that the instruction to the jury contained an improper comment on the evidence in violation of O.C.G.A. 17-8-57.
At the end of the court's charge on equal access as to XX, in which the court charged that ownership of an automobile permits an inference of possession of the vehicle and all its contents, the court charged the jury that if it found "that the automobile was used by others with a defendant, such evidence would not alone authorize a conviction but such a fact, is a fact, should be considered by you together with all the evidence in the case in passing upon the guilt or innocence of a defendant."
As we understand it, X argues that this portion of the charge implied that the truck had, in fact, been used concurrently by the defendant and another person and, that in context, it led the jury to believe that he and XX had been in the truck at the same time, furthering the inference that the equal access defense was available only to XX.
It is clear, however, that this was not a comment on the evidence. the context surrounding the word "is" makes it evident that the word meant was "if." the jury could not have been confused or misled by this slip of the tongue.