(a) Remainder of Writings or Recorded Statements. When a party introduces all or part of a writing or statement, the court may permit the adverse party to introduce or admit any other part of such writing or statement, provided that it is (1) on the same subject, (2) part of the same writing or conversation, and (3) necessary to an understanding of the admitted writing or statement.
(b) Curative Admissibility. When the erroneous admission of evidence causes a party to suffer significant prejudice, the court may permit incompetent evidence to be introduced to cure or minimize the prejudice.
Subsection (a). This subsection is derived from Commonwealth v. Aviles, 461 Mass. 60, 74, 958 N.E.2d 37, 50 (2011). See Mass. R. Civ. P. 32(a)(4). “When a party introduces a portion of a statement or writing in evidence the doctrine of verbal completeness allows admission of other relevant portions of the same statement or writing which serve to ‘clarify the context’ of the admitted portion.” Commonwealth v. Carmona, 428 Mass. 268, 272, 700 N.E.2d 823, 827 (1998), quoting Commonwealth v. Robles, 423 Mass. 62, 69, 666 N.E.2d 497, 502 (1996). “The purpose of the doctrine is to prevent one party from presenting a fragmented and misleading version of events by requiring the admission of other relevant portions of the same statement or writing which serve to clarify the context of the admitted portion” (citations and quotations omitted). Commonwealth v. Eugene, 438 Mass. 343, 351, 780 N.E.2d 893, 899 (2003). “The portion of the statement sought to be introduced must qualify or explain the segment previously introduced” (citations and quotations omitted). Commonwealth v. Richardson, 59 Mass. App. Ct. 94, 99, 793 N.E.2d 1278, 1282 (2003). See, e.g., Commonwealth v. Aviles, 461 Mass. at 74, 958 N.E.2d at 50 (where defendant offered portion of victim’s testimony describing touching of her buttocks, Commonwealth was properly permitted to offer testimony about touching of vaginal area, as both answers pertained to issue of where defendant had touched victim and were made during the same line of questioning).
The decision as to when the remainder of the writing or statement is admitted is left to the discretion of the judge, but the “better practice is to require an objection and contemporaneous introduction of the complete statements when the original statement is offered.” McAllister v. Boston Hous. Auth., 429 Mass. 300, 303, 708 N.E.2d 95, 98 (1999). See Section 611(a), Manner and Order of Interrogation and Presentation: Control by Court. The doctrine is not applicable to a defendant’s effort to admit the alibi portion of his or her statement which has nothing to do with the statement offered by the Commonwealth. Commonwealth v. Thompson, 431 Mass. 108, 115, 725 N.E.2d 556, 563–564, cert. denied, 531 U.S. 864 (2000).
Subsection (b). This subsection is derived from Commonwealth v. Ruffen, 399 Mass. 811, 813–814, 507 N.E.2d 684, 686 (1987) (“The curative admissibility doctrine allows a party harmed by incompetent evidence to rebut that evidence only if the original evidence created significant prejudice.”). See also Commonwealth v. Reed, 444 Mass. 803, 810–811, 831 N.E.2d 901, 907–908 (2005) (court required to admit evidence); Burke v. Memorial Hosp., 29 Mass. App. Ct. 948, 950, 558 N.E.2d 1146, 1149 (1990), citing Commonwealth v. Wakelin, 230 Mass. 567, 576, 120 N.E. 209, 213 (1918).