63. The contents of documents may be proved by primary or by secondary evidence.
64. Primary evidence means the document itself produced for the inspection of the court.
Explanation 1.—Where a document is executed in several parts, each part is primary evidence of the document.
Where a document is executed in counterpart, each counterpart being executed by one or some of the parties only, each counterpart is primary evidence as against the parties executing it.
Explanation 2.—Where a number of documents are all made by one uniform process, as in the case of printing, lithography or photography, each is primary evidence of the contents of the rest; but where they are all copies of a common original they are not primary evidence of the contents of the original.
A person is shown to have been in possession of a number of placards, all printed at one time from one original. Any one of the placards is primary evidence of the contents of any other, but no one of them is primary evidence of the contents of the original.
65. Secondary evidence means and includes —
certified copies given under the provisions hereinafter contained;
copies made from the original by electronic, electrochemical, chemical, magnetic, mechanical, optical, telematic or other technical processes, which in themselves ensure the accuracy of the copy, and copies compared with such copies;
copies made from or compared with the original;
counterparts of documents as against the parties who did not execute them;
oral accounts of the contents of a document given by some person who has himself seen it.
A photograph of an original is secondary evidence of its contents, though the 2 have not been compared, if it is proved that the thing photographed was the original.
A copy compared with a copy of a letter made by a copying machine is secondary evidence of the contents of the letter if it is shown that the copy made by the copying machine was made from the original.
A copy of a document in the form of a print-out, or image on a monitor screen, retrieved from a magnetic or optical storage device, such as a tape, hard disk, laser disc or CD-ROM, is secondary evidence of the contents of the document if it is shown that the copy retrieved from the storage device satisfies the conditions providing for the admissibility of such output.
A copy transcribed from a copy but afterwards compared with the original is secondary evidence, but the copy not so compared is not secondary evidence of the original, although the copy from which it was transcribed was compared with the original.
Neither an oral account of a copy compared with the original nor an oral account of a photograph or machine-copy of the original is secondary evidence of the original.
66. Documents must be proved by primary evidence except in the cases mentioned in section 67.
—(1) Secondary evidence may be given of the existence, condition or contents of a document admissible in evidence in the following cases:
when the original is shown or appears to be in the possession or power of —
the person against whom the document is sought to be proved;
any person out of reach of or not subject to the process of the court; or
any person legally bound to produce it,
and when, after the notice mentioned in section 68, such person does not produce it;
when the existence, condition or contents of the original have been proved to be admitted in writing by the person against whom it is proved or by his representative in interest;
when the original has been destroyed or lost, or when the party offering evidence of its contents cannot for any other reason not arising from his own default or neglect produce it in reasonable time;
when the original is of such a nature as not to be easily movable;
when the original is a public document within the meaning of section 76;
when the original is a document of which a certified copy is permitted by this Act or by any other law in force for the time being in Singapore to be given in evidence;
when the originals consist of numerous accounts or other documents which cannot conveniently be examined in court, and the fact to be proved is the general result of the whole collection.
(2) In cases (a), (c) and (d), any secondary evidence of the contents of the document is admissible.
(3) In case (b), the written admission is admissible.
(4) In case (e) or (f), a certified copy of the document but no other kind of secondary evidence is admissible.
(5) In case (g), evidence may be given as to the general result of the documents by any person who has examined them and who is skilled in the examination of such documents.
—(1) Secondary evidence of the contents of the documents referred to in section 67(1)(a) shall not be given unless the party proposing to give such secondary evidence has previously given to the party in whose possession or power the document is, or to his solicitor, such notice to produce it as is prescribed by law; and if no notice is prescribed by law, then such notice as the court considers reasonable under the circumstances of the case.
(2) The notice mentioned in subsection (1) shall not be required in order to render secondary evidence admissible in any of the following cases or in any other case in which the court thinks fit to dispense with it:
when the document to be proved is itself a notice;
when from the nature of the case the adverse party must know that he will be required to produce it;
when it appears or is proved that the adverse party has obtained possession of the original by fraud or force;
when the adverse party or his agent has the original in court;
when the adverse party or his agent has admitted the loss of the document;
when the person in possession of the document is out of reach of or not subject to the process of the court.
—(1) Evidence may be given in the form of charts, summaries, computer output or other explanatory material if it appears to the court that —
the materials would be likely to aid the court’s comprehension of other evidence which is relevant and admissible according to the provisions of this Act or any other written law; and
the evidence that is to be given by any party is so voluminous or complex that the court considers it convenient to assess the evidence by reference to such materials.
(2) Any fact or opinion asserted in any material referred to in subsection (1) shall be proved by relevant and admissible evidence, and if such fact or opinion is one that is admissible only on the proof of some other fact or opinion, such last-mentioned fact or opinion must be proved before evidence is given of the fact or opinion first-mentioned, unless the party undertakes to give proof of such fact or opinion and the court is satisfied with such undertaking.
(3) In any proceedings where any material referred to in subsection (1) is adduced in evidence, the court may —
direct the party to provide such material in any form, including computer output;
require the provision of such material or copy thereof, including the identity and address of the person who prepared the material, to the other parties; and
specify a period within which such material or copy thereof must be provided to all parties to the proceedings.
69. If a document is alleged to be signed or to have been written wholly or in part by any person, the signature or the handwriting of so much of the document as is alleged to be in that person’s handwriting must be proved to be in his handwriting.
70. If a document is required by law to be attested, it shall not be used as evidence until one attesting witness at least has been called for the purpose of proving its execution, if there is an attesting witness alive and subject to the process of the court and capable of giving evidence.
71. If no such attesting witness can be found, or if the document purports to have been executed in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, it must be proved that the attestation of one attesting witness at least is in his handwriting, and that the signature of the person executing the document is in the handwriting of that person.
72. The admission of a party to an attested document of its execution by himself shall be sufficient proof of its execution as against him, though it is a document required by law to be attested.
73. If the attesting witness denies or does not recollect the execution of the document, its execution may be proved by other evidence.
74. An attested document not required by law to be attested may be proved as if it was unattested.
—(1) In order to ascertain whether a signature, writing or seal is that of the person by whom it purports to have been written or made, any signature, writing or seal, admitted or proved to the satisfaction of the court to have been written or made by that person, may be compared by a witness or by the court with the one which is to be proved, although that signature, writing or seal has not been produced or proved for any other purpose.
(2) The court may direct any person present in court to write any words or figures for the purpose of enabling the court to compare the words or figures so written with any words or figures alleged to have been written by such person.
(3) This section shall apply also, with any necessary modifications, to finger impressions.