Admissions and confessions
—(1) An admission is a statement, oral or documentary, which suggests any inference as to any fact in issue or relevant fact, and which is made by any of the persons and under the circumstances hereinafter mentioned.
(2) A confession is an admission made at any time by a person accused of an offence, stating or suggesting the inference that he committed that offence.
—(1) Statements made by a party to the proceeding or by an agent to any such party whom the court regards under the circumstances of the case as expressly or impliedly authorised by him to make them are admissions.
(2) Statements made by parties to suits, suing or sued in a representative character, are not admissions unless they were made while the party making them held that character.
(3) Statements made by —
persons who have any proprietary or pecuniary interest in the subject-matter of the proceeding, and who make the statement in their character of persons so interested; or
persons from whom the parties to the suit have derived their interest in the subject-matter of the suit,
are admissions if they are made during the continuance of the interest of the persons making the statements.
19. Statements made by persons whose position or liability it is necessary to prove as against any party to the suit are admissions if the statements would be relevant as against the persons in relation to the position or liability in a suit brought by or against them, and if they are made whilst the person making them occupies the position or is subject to the liability.
A undertakes to collect rents for B.
B sues A for not collecting rent due from C to B.
A denies that rent was due from C to B.
A statement by C that he owed B rent is an admission and is a relevant fact, as against A, if A denies that C did owe rent to B.
20. Statements made by persons to whom a party to the suit has expressly referred for information in reference to a matter in dispute are admissions.
The question is whether a horse sold by A to B is sound.
A says to B: “Go and ask C, C knows all about it”. C’s statement is an admission.
21. Admissions are relevant and may be proved as against the person who makes them or his representative in interest; but they cannot be proved by or on behalf of the person who makes them or by his representative in interest except in the following cases:
an admission may be proved by or on behalf of the person making it when it is of such a nature that, if the person making it were dead, it would be relevant as between third persons under section 32;
an admission may be proved by or on behalf of the person making it when it consists of a statement of the existence of any state of mind or body relevant or in issue, made at or about the time when such state of mind or body existed and is accompanied by conduct rendering its falsehood improbable; and
an admission may be proved by or on behalf of the person making it if it is relevant otherwise than as an admission.
The question between A and B is whether a certain deed is or is not forged. A affirms that it is genuine; B that it is forged.
A may prove a statement by B that the deed is genuine, and B may prove a statement by A that the deed is forged; but A cannot prove a statement by himself that the deed is genuine, nor can B prove a statement by himself that the deed is forged.
A, the captain of a ship, is tried for casting her away.
Evidence is given to show that the ship was taken out of her proper course.
A produces a book kept by him in the ordinary course of his business, showing observations alleged to have been taken by him from day to day, and indicating that the ship was not taken out of her proper course. A may prove these statements because they would be admissible between third parties if he were dead under section 32(b).
A is accused of a crime committed by him at Singapore. He produces a letter written by himself and dated at Penang on that day, and bearing the Penang postmark of that day.
The statement in the date of the letter is admissible, because if A were dead it would be admissible under section 32(b).
A is accused of receiving stolen goods, knowing them to be stolen.
He offers to prove that he refused to sell them below their value.
A may prove these statements though they are admissions, because they are explanatory of conduct influenced by facts in issue.
A is accused of fraudulently having in his possession counterfeit coin which he knew to be counterfeit.
He offers to prove that he asked a skilful person to examine the coin as he doubted whether it was counterfeit or not, and that that person did examine it and told him it was genuine.
A may prove these facts for the reasons stated in illustration (d).
22. Oral admissions as to the contents of a document are not relevant unless the party proposing to prove them shows that he is entitled to give secondary evidence of the contents of the document under the rules contained in this Act, or unless the genuineness of a document produced is in question.
23. In civil cases, no admission is relevant if it is made either upon an express condition that evidence of it is not to be given, or under circumstances from which the court can infer that the parties agreed together that evidence of it should not be given.
Explanation .—Nothing in this section shall be taken to exempt any advocate or solicitor from giving evidence of any matter of which he may be compelled to give evidence under section 128.
24. A confession made by an accused person is irrelevant in a criminal proceeding if the making of the confession appears to the court to have been caused by any inducement, threat or promise having reference to the charge against the accused person, proceeding from a person in authority and sufficient in the opinion of the court to give the accused person grounds which would appear to him reasonable for supposing that by making it he would gain any advantage or avoid any evil of a temporal nature in reference to the proceeding against him.
26. Subject to any express provision in any written law, no confession made by any person whilst he is in the custody of a police officer, unless it is made in the immediate presence of a Magistrate, shall be proved as against the person.
27. When any fact is deposed to as discovered in consequence of information received from a person accused of any offence in the custody of a police officer, so much of such information, whether such information amounts to a confession or not, as relates distinctly to the fact thereby discovered may be proved.
28. If a confession referred to in section 24 is made after the impression caused by any such inducement, threat or promise has, in the opinion of the court, been fully removed, it is relevant.
29. If such a confession is otherwise relevant, it does not become irrelevant merely because —
it was made under a promise of secrecy, or in consequence of a deception practised on the accused person for the purpose of obtaining it, or when he was drunk;
it was made in answer to questions which he need not have answered, whatever may have been the form of those questions; or
he was not warned that he was not bound to make the confession and that evidence of it might be given against him.
Consideration of proved confession affecting person making it and others jointly under trial for same offence
30. When more persons than one are being tried jointly for the same offence, and a confession made by one of such persons affecting himself and some other of such persons is proved, the court may take into consideration the confession as against the other person as well as against the person who makes the confession.
Explanations .—“Offence” as used in this section includes the abetment of or attempt to commit the offence.
A and B are jointly tried for the murder of C. It is proved that A said “B and I murdered C”. The court may consider the effect of this confession as against B.
A is on his trial for the murder of C. There is evidence to show that C was murdered by A and B and that B said: “A and I murdered C ”.
This statement may not be taken into consideration by the court against A as B is not being jointly tried.
31. Admissions are not conclusive proof of the matters admitted, but they may operate as estoppels under the provisions in this Act.
Cases in which statement of relevant fact by person who is dead or cannot be found, etc., is relevant
32. Statements, written or verbal, of relevant facts made by a person who is dead or who cannot be found, or who has become incapable of giving evidence, or whose attendance cannot be procured without an amount of delay or expense which under the circumstances of the case appears to the court unreasonable, are themselves relevant facts in the following cases:
(a) when the statement is made by a person as to the cause of his death, or as to any of the circumstances of the transaction which resulted in his death, in cases in which the cause of that person’s death comes into question; such statements are relevant whether the person who made them was or was not at the time when they were made under expectation of death, and whatever may be the nature of the proceeding in which the cause of his death comes into question;
(b) when the statement was made by such person in the ordinary course of business, and in particular when it consists of any entry or memorandum made by him in books kept in the ordinary course of business or in the discharge of professional duty, or of an acknowledgment written or signed by him of the receipt of money, goods, securities or property of any kind, or of a document used in commerce, written or signed by him, or of the date of a letter or other document usually dated, written or signed by him;
(c) when the statement is against the pecuniary or proprietary interest of the person making it, or when, if true, it would expose him or would have exposed him to a criminal prosecution or to a suit for damages;
(d) when the statement gives the opinion of any such person as to the existence of any public right or custom or matter of public or general interest, of the existence of which if it existed he would have been likely to be aware, and when such statement was made before any controversy as to such right, custom or matter had arisen;
(e) when the statement relates to the existence of any relationship by blood, marriage or adoption between persons as to whose relationship by blood, marriage or adoption the person making the statement had special means of knowledge, and when the statement was made before the question in dispute was raised;
(f) when the statement relates to the existence of any relationship by blood, marriage or adoption between persons deceased, and is made in any will or deed relating to the affairs of the family to which any such deceased person belonged, or in any family pedigree or upon any tombstone, family portrait or other thing on which such statements are usually made, and when such statement was made before the question in dispute was raised;
(g) when the statement is contained in any deed or other document which relates to any such transaction as is mentioned in section 13(a);
(h) when the statement was made by a number of persons and expressed feelings or impressions on their part relevant to the matter in question.
The question is whether A was murdered by B.
A dies of injuries received in a transaction in the course of which she was ravished.
The question is whether she was ravished by B; or
The question is whether A was killed by B under such circumstances that a suit would lie against B by A’s widow.
Statements made by A as to the cause of his or her death, referring respectively to the murder, the rape and the actionable wrong under consideration, are relevant facts.
The question is as to the date of A’s birth.
An entry in the diary of a deceased surgeon regularly kept in the course of business, stating that on a given day he attended A’s mother and delivered her of a son, is a relevant fact.
The question is whether A was in Singapore on a given day.
A statement in the diary of a deceased solicitor regularly kept in the course of business that on a given day the solicitor attended A at a place mentioned in Singapore for the purpose of conferring with him upon specified business is a relevant fact.
The question is whether a ship sailed from Singapore harbour on a given day.
A letter written by a deceased member of a merchant’s firm by which she was chartered to their correspondents in London, to whom the cargo was consigned, stating that the ship sailed on a given day from Singapore harbour is a relevant fact.
The question is whether rent was paid to A for certain land.
A letter from A’s deceased agent to B, saying that he had received the rent on A’s account and held it at A’s orders, is a relevant fact.
The question is whether A and B were legally married.
The statement of a deceased clergyman that he married them under such circumstances that the celebration would be a crime is relevant.
The question is whether A, a person who cannot be found, wrote a letter on a certain day.
The fact that a letter written by him is dated on that day is relevant.
The question is, what was the cause of the wreck of a ship?
A protest made by the captain, whose attendance cannot be procured, is a relevant fact.
The question is, what was the price of shares on a certain day in a particular market?
A statement of the price made by a deceased broker in the ordinary course of his business is a relevant fact.
The question is whether A, who is dead, was the father of B.
A statement by A that B was his son is a relevant fact.
The question is, what was the date of the birth of A?
A letter from A’s deceased father to a friend, announcing the birth of A on a given day, is a relevant fact.
The question is whether and when A and B were married.
An entry in a memorandum-book by C, the deceased father of B, of his daughter’s marriage with A on a given date, is a relevant fact.
A sues B for a libel expressed in a printed caricature exposed in a shop-window. The question is as to the similarity of the caricature and its libellous character.
The remarks of a crowd of spectators on these points may be proved.
Relevancy of certain evidence for proving in subsequent proceeding the truth of facts therein stated
33. Evidence given by a witness in a judicial proceeding, or before any person authorised by law to take it, is relevant for the purpose of proving in a subsequent judicial proceeding, or in a later stage of the same judicial proceeding, the truth of the facts which it states, when the witness is dead or cannot be found or is incapable of giving evidence, or is kept out of the way by the adverse party, or if his presence cannot be obtained without an amount of delay or expense which under the circumstances of the case the court considers unreasonable subject to the following provisions:
the proceeding was between the same parties or their representatives in interest;
the adverse party in the first proceeding had the right and opportunity to cross-examine; and
the questions in issue were substantially the same in the first as in the second proceeding.
Explanation .—A criminal trial or inquiry shall be deemed to be a proceeding between the prosecutor and the accused within the meaning of this section.