Judgments of courts of justice when relevant
42. The existence of any judgment, order or decree which by law prevents any court from taking cognizance of a suit or holding a trial is a relevant fact when the question is whether the court ought to take cognizance of the suit or to hold the trial.
—(1) A final judgment, order or decree of a competent court, in the exercise of probate, matrimonial, admiralty or bankruptcy jurisdiction, which confers upon or takes away from any person any legal character, or which declares any person to be entitled to any such character, or to be entitled to any specific thing, not as against any specified person but absolutely, is relevant when the existence of any such legal character or the title of any such person to any such thing is relevant.
(2) Such judgment, order or decree is conclusive proof —
that any legal character which it confers accrued at the time when such judgment, order or decree came into operation;
that any legal character to which it declares any such person to be entitled accrued to that person at the time when such judgment, order or decree declares it to have accrued to that person;
that any legal character which it takes away from any such person ceased at the time from which such judgment, order or decree declared that it had ceased or should cease; and
that anything to which it declares any person to be so entitled was the property of that person at the time from which such judgment, order or decree declares that it had been or should be his property.
44. Judgments, orders or decrees other than those mentioned in section 43 are relevant if they relate to matters of a public nature relevant to the inquiry; but such judgments, orders or decrees are not conclusive proof of that which they state.
A sues B for trespass on his land. B alleges the existence of a public right of way over the land which A denies.
The existence of a decree in favour of the defendant in a suit by A against C for a trespass on the same land in which C alleged the existence of the same right of way is relevant, but it is not conclusive proof that the right of way exists.
45. Judgments, orders or decrees other than those mentioned in sections 42, 43 and 44 are irrelevant unless the existence of such judgment, order or decree is a fact in issue or is relevant under some other provision of this Act.
A and B separately sue C for a libel which reflects upon each of them. C in each case says that the matter alleged to be libellous is true, and the circumstances are such that it is probably true in each case or in neither.
A obtains a decree against C for damages on the ground that C failed to make out his justification. The fact is irrelevant as between B and C.
A prosecutes B under section 498 of the Penal Code for enticing away C, A’s wife.
B denies that C is A’s wife, but the court convicts B.
Afterwards C is prosecuted for bigamy in marrying B during A’s lifetime. C says that she never was A’s wife.
The judgment against B is irrelevant as against C.
A has obtained a decree for the possession of land against B. C, B’s son, murders A in consequence.
The existence of the judgment is relevant as showing motive for a crime.
A is charged with theft and with having been previously convicted of theft.
The previous conviction is relevant as a fact in issue.
A is tried for the murder of B. The fact that B prosecuted A for libel and that A was convicted and sentenced is relevant under section 8 as showing the motive for the fact in issue.
—(1) Without prejudice to sections 42, 43, 44 and 45, the fact that a person has been convicted or acquitted of an offence by or before any court in Singapore shall be admissible in evidence for the purpose of proving, where relevant to any issue in the proceedings, that he committed (or, as the case may be, did not commit) that offence, whether or not he is a party to the proceedings; and where he was convicted, whether he was so convicted upon a plea of guilty or otherwise.
(2) A conviction referred to in subsection (1) is relevant and admissible unless —
it is subject to review or appeal that has not yet been determined;
it has been quashed or set aside; or
a pardon has been given in respect of it.
(3) A person proved to have been convicted of an offence under this section shall, unless the contrary is proved, be taken to have committed the acts and to have possessed the state of mind (if any) which at law constitute that offence.
(4) Any conviction or acquittal admissible under this section may be proved by a certificate of conviction or acquittal, signed by the Registrar of the Supreme Court or the Registrar of the Subordinate Courts, as the case may be, giving the substance and effect of the charge and of the conviction or acquittal.
(5) Where relevant, any document containing details of the information, complaint, charge, agreed statement of facts or record of proceedings on which the person in question is convicted shall be admissible in evidence.
(6) The method of proving a conviction or acquittal under this section shall be in addition to any other authorised manner of proving a conviction or acquittal.
(7) In any criminal proceedings, this section shall be subject to any written law or any other rule of law to the effect that a conviction shall not be admissible to prove a tendency or disposition on the part of the accused to commit the kind of offence with which he has been charged.