Though a defense attorney abused the rules of discovery and produced an exculpatory witness at the last moment, the trial court shouldn’t have forced the case to trial without the witness’s testimony, the Appellate Division has ruled.

“The demands of due process are never more seriously tested than when a defendant in a criminal case is, for any reason, denied an opportunity to present a witness whose testimony has ostensible exculpatory value,” Judge Howard Kestin wrote for a three-judge panel on Nov. 17.