RELEVANCY OF FACTS
—(1) Parts I, II and III shall apply to all judicial proceedings in or before any court, but not to affidavits presented to any court or officer nor to proceedings before an arbitrator.
(2) All rules of evidence not contained in any written law, so far as such rules are inconsistent with any of the provisions of this Act, are repealed.
—(1) In Parts I, II and III, unless the context otherwise requires —
“computer” means an electronic, magnetic, optical, electrochemical, or other data processing device, or a group of such interconnected or related devices, performing logical, arithmetic or storage functions, and includes any data storage facility or communications facility directly related to or operating in conjunction with such device or group of such interconnected or related devices, but does not include —
an automated typewriter or typesetter;
a portable hand held calculator;
such other device as the Minister may by notification prescribe;
“computer output” or “output” means a statement or representation (whether in audio, visual, graphical, multi-media, printed, pictorial, written or any other form) —
produced by a computer; or
accurately translated from a statement or representation so produced;
“court” includes all Judges and Magistrates and, except arbitrators, all persons legally authorised to take evidence;
“document” means any matter expressed or described upon any substance by means of letters, figures or marks or by more than one of those means intended to be used or which may be used for the purpose of recording that matter;
A writing is a document.
Words printed, lithographed or photographed are documents.
A map or plan is a document.
An inscription on a metal plate or stone is a document.
A caricature is a document.
“evidence” includes —
all statements which the court permits or requires to be made before it by witnesses in relation to matters of fact under inquiry: such statements are called oral evidence;
all documents produced for the inspection of the court: such documents are called documentary evidence;
“fact” includes —
any thing, state of things, or relation of things, capable of being received by the senses;
any mental condition of which any person is conscious;
(a) That there are certain objects arranged in a certain order in a certain place is a fact.
(b) That a man heard or saw something is a fact.
(c) That a man said certain words is a fact.
(d) That a man holds a certain opinion, has a certain intention, acts in good faith or fraudulently, or uses a particular word in a particular sense, or is or was at a specified time conscious of a particular sensation, is a fact.
(e) That a man has a certain reputation is a fact.
“fact in issue” includes any fact from which either by itself or in connection with other facts the existence, non-existence, nature or extent of any right, liability or disability asserted or denied in any suit or proceeding necessarily follows.
A is accused of the murder of B.
At his trial the following facts may be in issue:
that A caused B’s death;
that A intended to cause B’s death;
that A had received grave and sudden provocation from B;
that A at the time of doing the act which caused B’s death was by reason of unsoundness of mind incapable of knowing its nature.
(2) One fact is said to be relevant to another when the one is connected with the other in any of the ways referred to in the provisions of this Act relating to the relevancy of facts.
(3) A fact is said to be “proved” when, after considering the matters before it, the court either believes it to exist or considers its existence so probable that a prudent man ought, under the circumstances of the particular case, to act upon the supposition that it exists.
(4) A fact is said to be “disproved” when, after considering the matters before it, the court either believes that it does not exist or considers its non-existence so probable that a prudent man ought, under the circumstances of the particular case, to act upon the supposition that it does not exist.
(5) A fact is said to be “not proved” when it is neither proved nor disproved.
—(1) Whenever it is provided by this Act that the court may presume a fact, it may either regard such fact as proved unless and until it is disproved, or may call for proof of it.
(2) Whenever it is directed by this Act that the court shall presume a fact, it shall regard such fact as proved unless and until it is disproved.
(3) When one fact is declared by this Act to be conclusive proof of another, the court shall, on proof of the one fact, regard the other as proved, and shall not allow evidence to be given for the purpose of disproving it.
Relevancy of facts
5. Evidence may be given in any suit or proceeding of the existence or non-existence of every fact in issue and of such other facts as are hereinafter declared to be relevant, and of no others.
Explanation .—This section shall not enable any person to give evidence of a fact which he is disentitled to prove by any provision of the law for the time being in force relating to civil procedure.
A is tried for the murder of B by beating him with a club with the intention of causing his death.
At A’s trial the following facts are in issue:
A’s beating B with the club;
A’s causing B’s death by such beating;
A’s intention to cause B’s death.
A, a party to a suit, does not comply with a notice given by B, the other party, to produce for B’s inspection a document referred to in A’s pleadings. This section does not enable A to put such document in evidence on his behalf in such suit, otherwise than in accordance with the conditions prescribed by the Rules of Court.
6. Facts which, though not in issue, are so connected with a fact in issue as to form part of the same transaction are relevant, whether they occurred at the same time and place or at different times and places.
A is accused of the murder of B by beating him. Whatever was said or done by A or B or the bystanders at the beating or so shortly before or after it as to form part of the transaction is a relevant fact.
A is accused of waging war against the Government by taking part in an armed insurrection in which property is destroyed, troops are attacked and gaols are broken open. The occurrence of these facts is relevant as forming part of the general transaction, though A may not have been present at all of them.
A sues B for a libel contained in a letter forming part of a correspondence. Letters between the parties relating to the subject out of which the libel arose and forming part of the correspondence in which it is contained are relevant facts though they do not contain the libel itself.
The question is whether certain goods ordered from B were delivered to A . The goods were delivered to several intermediate persons successively. Each delivery is a relevant fact.
7. Facts which are the occasion, cause or effect, immediate or otherwise, of relevant facts or facts in issue, or which constitute the state of things under which they happened or which afforded an opportunity for their occurrence or transaction, are relevant.
The question is whether A robbed B.
The facts that shortly before the robbery B went to a fair with money in his possession, and that he showed or mentioned the fact that he had it to third persons, are relevant.
The question is whether A murdered B. Marks on the ground produced by a struggle at or near the place where the murder was committed are relevant facts.
The question is whether A poisoned B. The state of B’s health before the symptoms ascribed to poison and habits of B known to A which afforded an opportunity for the administration of poison, are relevant facts.
—(1) Any fact is relevant which shows or constitutes a motive or preparation for any fact in issue or relevant fact.
(2) The conduct of any party or of any agent to any party to any suit or proceeding in reference to such suit or proceeding or in reference to any fact in issue therein or relevant thereto, and the conduct of any person an offence against whom is the subject of any proceeding, is relevant if such conduct influences or is influenced by any fact in issue or relevant fact, and whether it was previous or subsequent thereto.
Explanation 1.—The word “conduct” in this section does not include statements unless those statements accompany and explain acts other than statements; but this explanation is not to affect the relevancy of statements under any other section of this Act.
Explanation 2.—When the conduct of any person is relevant any statement made to him or in his presence and hearing which affects such conduct is relevant.
A is tried for the murder of B.
The facts that A murdered C, that B knew that A had murdered C and that B had tried to extort money from A by threatening to make his knowledge public, are relevant.
A sues B upon a bond for the payment of money. B denies the making of the bond.
The fact that at the time when the bond was alleged to be made B required money for a particular purpose is relevant.
A is tried for the murder of B by poison.
The fact that before the death of B, A procured poison similar to that which was administered to B is relevant.
The question is whether a certain document is the will of A.
The facts that not long before the date of the alleged will A made inquiry into matters to which the provisions of the alleged will relate, that he consulted lawyers in reference to making the will, and that he caused drafts of other wills to be prepared of which he did not approve are relevant.
A is accused of a crime.
The facts that either before, or at the time of or after the alleged crime, A provided evidence which would tend to give to the facts of the case an appearance favourable to himself, or that he destroyed or concealed evidence or prevented the presence or procured the absence of persons who might have been witnesses, or suborned persons to give false evidence respecting it, are relevant.
The question is whether A robbed B.
The facts that after B was robbed, C said in A’s presence: “The police are coming to look for the man who robbed B”, and that immediately afterwards A ran away are relevant.
The question is whether A owes B $10,000.
The facts that A asked C to lend him money, and that D said to C in A’s presence and hearing: “I advise you not to trust A for he owes B $10,000”, and that A went away without making any answer, are relevant facts.
The question is whether A committed a crime.
The fact that A absconded after receiving a letter warning him that inquiry was being made for the criminal, and the contents of the letter, are relevant.
A is accused of a crime.
The facts that after the commission of the alleged crime he absconded, or was in possession of property or the proceeds of property acquired by the crime, or attempted to conceal things which were or might have been used in committing it, are relevant.
The question is whether A was ravished.
The facts that shortly after the alleged rape she made a complaint relating to the crime, the circumstances under which and the terms in which the complaint was made, are relevant.
The fact that without making a complaint she said that she had been ravished is not relevant as conduct under this section, though it may be relevant as a dying declaration under section 32(a), or as corroborative evidence under section 159.
The question is whether A was robbed.
The fact that soon after the alleged robbery he made a complaint relating to the offence, the circumstances under which and the terms in which the complaint was made, are relevant.
The fact that he said he had been robbed without making any complaint is not relevant as conduct under this section, though it may be relevant as a dying declaration under section 32(a), or as corroborative evidence under section 159.
9. Facts necessary to explain or introduce a fact in issue or relevant fact, or which support or rebut an inference suggested by a fact in issue or relevant fact, or which establish the identity of any thing or person whose identity is relevant, or fix the time or place at which any fact in issue or relevant fact happened or which show the relation of parties by whom any such fact was transacted, are relevant in so far as they are necessary for that purpose.
The question is whether a given document is the will of A.
The state of A’s property and of his family at the date of the alleged will may be relevant facts.
A sues B for libel imputing disgraceful conduct to A ; B affirms that the matter alleged to be libellous is true.
The position and relations of the parties at the time when the libel was published may be relevant facts as introductory to the facts in issue.
The particulars of a dispute between A and B about a matter unconnected with the alleged libel are irrelevant, though the fact that there was a dispute may be relevant if it affected the relations between A and B.
A is accused of a crime.
The fact that soon after the commission of the crime A absconded from his house is relevant under section 8 as conduct subsequent to and affected by facts in issue.
The fact that at the time when he left home he had sudden and urgent business at the place to which he went is relevant as tending to explain the fact that he left home suddenly.
The details of the business on which he left are not relevant, except in so far as they are necessary to show that the business was sudden and urgent.
A sues B for inducing C to break a contract of service made by him with A. C on leaving A’s service says to A: “I am leaving you because B has made me a better offer”. This statement is a relevant fact as explanatory of C’s conduct, which is relevant as a fact in issue.
A accused of theft is seen to give the stolen property to B who is seen to give it to A’s wife. B says as he delivers it: “A says you are to hide this”. B’s statement is relevant as explanatory of a fact which is part of the transaction.
A is tried for a riot and is proved to have marched at the head of a mob. The cries of the mob are relevant as explanatory of the nature of the transaction.
10. Where there is reasonable ground to believe that 2 or more persons have conspired together to commit an offence or an actionable wrong, anything said, done or written by any one of such persons, in reference to their common intention after the time when such intention was first entertained by any one of them, is a relevant fact as against each of the persons believed to be so conspiring, as well for the purpose of proving the existence of the conspiracy as for the purpose of showing that any such person was a party to it.
Reasonable ground exists for believing that A has joined in a conspiracy to wage war against the Government.
The facts that B procured arms in Europe for the purpose of the conspiracy, C collected money in Malacca for a like object, D persuaded persons to join the conspiracy in Province Wellesley, E published writings advocating the object in view at Singapore, and F transmitted from Singapore to G at Jakarta the money which C had collected at Malacca, and the contents of a letter written by H giving an account of the conspiracy are each relevant, both to prove the existence of the conspiracy and to prove A’s complicity in it, although he may have been ignorant of all of them, and although the persons by whom they were done were strangers to him, and although they may have taken place before he joined the conspiracy or after he left it.
11. Facts not otherwise relevant are relevant —
if they are inconsistent with any fact in issue or relevant fact;
if by themselves or in connection with other facts they make the existence or non-existence of any fact in issue or relevant fact highly probable or improbable.
The question is whether A committed a crime at Singapore on a certain day.
The fact that on that day A was at Penang is relevant.
The fact that near the time when the crime was committed A was at a distance from the place where it was committed, which would render it highly improbable, though not impossible, that he committed it, is relevant.
The question is whether A committed a crime.
The circumstances are such that the crime must have been committed either by A, B, C or D. Every fact which shows that the crime could have been committed by no one else and that it was not committed by either B, C or D is relevant.
12. In suits in which damages are claimed, any fact which will enable the court to determine the amount of damages which ought to be awarded is relevant.
13. Where the question is as to the existence of any right or custom, the following facts are relevant:
any transaction by which the right or custom in question was created, claimed, modified, recognised, asserted or denied or which was inconsistent with its existence; and
particular instances in which the right or custom was claimed, recognised or exercised or in which its exercise was disputed, asserted or departed from.
The question is whether A has a right to a fishery. A deed conferring the fishery on A’s ancestors, a mortgage of the fishery by A’s father, a subsequent grant of the fishery by A’s father irreconcilable with the mortgage, particular instances in which A’s father exercised the right, or in which the exercise of the right was stopped by A’s neighbours, are relevant facts.
14. Facts showing the existence of any state of mind, such as intention, knowledge, good faith, negligence, rashness, ill-will or good-will towards any particular person, or showing the existence of any state of body or bodily feeling, are relevant when the existence of any such state of mind or body or bodily feeling is in issue or relevant.
Explanation 1.—A fact relevant as showing the existence of a relevant state of mind must show that the state of mind exists not generally but in reference to the particular matter in question.
Explanation 2.—But where upon the trial of a person accused of an offence the previous commission by the accused of an offence is relevant within the meaning of this section, the previous conviction of such person shall also be a relevant fact.
A is accused of receiving stolen goods, knowing them to be stolen. It is proved that he was in possession of a particular stolen article.
The fact that at the same time he was in possession of many other stolen articles is relevant as tending to show that he knew each and all of the articles of which he was in possession to be stolen.
A is accused of fraudulently delivering to another person a counterfeit coin, which at the time when he delivered it he knew to be counterfeit.
The fact that at the time of its delivery A was possessed of a number of other pieces of counterfeit coin is relevant.
The fact that A had been previously convicted of delivering to another person as genuine a counterfeit coin, knowing it to be counterfeit, is relevant.
A sues B for damage done by a dog of B’s, which B knew to be ferocious.
The facts that the dog had previously bitten X, Y and Z and that they had made complaints to B are relevant.
The question is whether A, the acceptor of a bill of exchange, knew that the name of the payee was fictitious.
The fact that A had accepted other bills drawn in the same manner before they could have been transmitted to him by the payee, if the payee had been a real person, is relevant, as showing that A knew that the payee was a fictitious person.
A is accused of defaming B by publishing an imputation intended to harm the reputation of B.
The fact of previous publications by A respecting B showing ill-will on the part of A towards B is relevant, as proving A’s intention to harm B’s reputation by the particular publication in question.
The facts that there was no previous quarrel between A and B and that A repeated the matter complained of as he heard it, are relevant as showing that A did not intend to harm the reputation of B.
A is sued by B for fraudulently representing to B that C was solvent, whereby B being induced to trust C, who was insolvent, suffered loss.
The fact that at the time when A represented C to be solvent C was supposed to be solvent by his neighbours, and by persons dealing with him, is relevant, as showing that A made the representation in good faith.
A is sued by B for the price of work done by B upon a house of which A is owner by the order of C, a contractor.
A’s defence is that B’s contract was with C.
The fact that A paid C for the work in question is relevant as providing that A did in good faith make over to C the management of the work in question, so that C was in a position to contract with B on C’s own account and not as agent for A.
A is accused of the dishonest misappropriation of property which he had found, and the question is whether, when he appropriated it he believed in good faith that the real owner could not be found.
The fact that public notice of the loss of the property had been given in the place where A was, is relevant as showing that A did not in good faith believe that the real owner of the property could not be found.
The fact that A knew or had reason to believe that the notice was given fraudulently by C who had heard of the loss of the property and wished to set up a false claim to it, is relevant as showing that the fact that A knew of the notice did not disprove A’s good faith.
A is charged with shooting at B with intent to kill him.
In order to show A’s intent, the fact of A’s having previously shot at B may be proved.
A is charged with sending threatening letters to B.
Threatening letters previously sent by A to B may be proved as showing the intention of the letters.
The question is whether A has been guilty of cruelty towards B his wife.
Expression of their feelings towards each other shortly before or after the alleged cruelty are relevant facts.
The question is whether A’s death was caused by poison.
Statements made by A during his illness as to his symptoms are relevant facts.
The question is, what was the state of A’s health at the time when an assurance on his life was effected? Statements made by A as to the state of his health at or near the time in question are relevant facts.
A sues B for negligence in providing him with a motor car for hire not reasonably fit for use whereby A was injured.
The fact that B’s attention was drawn on other occasions to the defect of that particular motor car is relevant.
The fact that B was habitually negligent about the motor cars which he let to hire is irrelevant.
A is tried for the murder of B by intentionally shooting him dead.
The fact that A on other occasions shot at B is relevant as showing his intention to shoot B.
The fact that A was in the habit of shooting at people with intent to murder them is irrelevant.
A is tried for a crime.
The fact that he said something indicating an intention to commit that particular crime is relevant.
The fact that he said something indicating a general disposition to commit crimes of that class is irrelevant.
15. When there is a question whether an act was accidental or intentional or done with a particular knowledge or intention, the fact that such act formed part of a series of similar occurrences, in each of which the person doing the act was concerned, is relevant.
A is accused of burning down his house in order to obtain money for which it is insured.
The facts that A lived in several houses successively, each of which he insured, in each of which a fire occurred, and after each of which fires A received payment from a different insurance office, are relevant as tending to show that the fire was not accidental.
A is employed to receive money from the debtors of B. It is A’s duty to make entries in a book showing the amounts received by him. He makes an entry showing that on a particular occasion he received less than he really did receive.
The question is whether this false entry was accidental or intentional.
The facts that other entries made by A in the same book are false, and that the false entry is in each case in favour of A, are relevant.
A is accused of fraudulently delivering to B a counterfeit dollar.
The question is whether the delivery of the dollar was accidental.
The facts that soon before or soon after the delivery to B, A delivered counterfeit dollars to C, D and E are relevant as showing that the delivery to B was not accidental.
16. When there is a question whether a particular act was done, the existence of any course of business, according to which it naturally would have been done, is a relevant fact.
The question is whether a particular letter was despatched.
The facts that it was the ordinary course of business for all letters put in a certain place to be carried to the post, and that that particular letter was put in that place, are relevant.
The question is whether a particular letter reached A.
The facts that it was posted in due course and was not returned through the Dead Letter Office are relevant.
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.
Statements made under special circumstances
34. Entries in books of accounts regularly kept in the course of business are relevant whenever they refer to a matter into which the court has to inquire, but such statements shall not alone be sufficient evidence to charge any person with liability.
A sues B for $1,000 and shows entries in his account-books showing B to be indebted to him to this amount. The entries are relevant, but are not sufficient without other evidence to prove the debt.
—(1) Unless otherwise provided in any other written law, where computer output is tendered in evidence for any purpose whatsoever, such output shall be admissible if it is relevant or otherwise admissible according to the other provisions of this Act or any other written law, and it is —
expressly agreed between the parties to the proceedings at any time that neither its authenticity nor the accuracy of its contents are disputed;
produced in an approved process; or
shown by the party tendering such output that —
there is no reasonable ground for believing that the output is inaccurate because of improper use of the computer and that no reason exists to doubt or suspect the truth or reliability of the output; and
there is reasonable ground to believe that at all material times the computer was operating properly, or if not, that in any respect in which it was not operating properly or out of operation, the accuracy of the output was not affected by such circumstances.
(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1)(a), an agreement expressly made between the parties referred to in that subsection shall not render the computer output admissible in evidence —
in criminal proceedings on behalf of the prosecution if at the time the agreement was made, the accused person or any of the accused persons was not represented by an advocate and solicitor; or
in any proceedings, if the agreement was obtained by means of fraud, duress, mistake or misrepresentation.
(3) A certificate signed by a person holding a responsible position in relation to the operation or management of a certifying authority appointed under subsection (5) and purporting to identify the approved process, including that part of the process that is relevant to the proceedings, shall be sufficient evidence that the process is an approved process for the purposes of this section.
(4) Where the computer output is obtained from an approved process and duly certified as such by a person holding a responsible position in relation to the operation or management of the approved process, it shall be presumed that it accurately reproduces the contents of the original document unless the contrary is proved.
(5) In this section, “approved process” means a process that has been approved in accordance with the provisions of any regulations made by the Minister, by a person or an organisation appointed by the Minister to be a certifying authority under such regulations.
(6) With respect to subsection (1)(c), a certificate signed by a person holding a responsible position in relation to the operation or management of the relevant computer system and —
purporting to identify such output and describing the manner in which it was produced;
giving particulars of any device involved in the processing and storage of such output;
dealing with the matters mentioned in subsection (1)(c),
shall be sufficient evidence of the matters stated in the certificate.
(7) If the person referred to in subsection (6) who occupies a responsible position in relation to the operation or management of the computer did not have control or access over any relevant records and facts in relation to the production by the computer of the computer output, a supplementary certificate signed by another person who had such control or access and made in accordance with subsection (6)(a), (b) and (c) shall be sufficient evidence of the matters stated in the certificate.
(8) If any person referred to in subsection (6) or (7) refuses or is unable for any reason to certify any of the matters referred to in subsection (6) or (7), a certificate signed by another person who had obtained or been given control or access to the relevant records and facts in relation to the production by the computer of the computer output and made in accordance with subsection (6)(a), (b) and (c) shall be sufficient evidence of the matters stated in the certificate.
(9) For the purposes of subsections (3), (4), (6), (7) and (8), it shall be sufficient for a matter to be stated to the best of the knowledge and belief of the person stating it.
(10) Any computer output tendered in evidence under this section and duly authenticated shall not be inadmissible as evidence of proof of the contents of the original document merely on the ground that —
certain parts or features of the original document, such as boxes, lines, shades, colours, patterns or graphics, do not appear in the output if such parts or features do not affect the accuracy of the relevant contents; or
it is secondary evidence.
(11) Any person who in a certificate tendered under subsection (3), (4), (6), (7) or (8) in a court makes a statement which he knows to be false or does not reasonably believe to be true shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or to both.
—(1) Where a court is not satisfied that the computer output sought to be admitted in evidence under section 35 accurately reproduces the relevant contents of the original document, the court may, in its discretion, call for further evidence.
(2) Where further evidence is called for under subsection (1), such evidence may be produced by an affidavit made —
by a person occupying a responsible position in relation to the operation or management of the certifying authority appointed under section 35(5);
by any other person occupying a responsible position in relation to the operation of the computer at the relevant time;
by the person who had control or access over any relevant records and facts in relation to the production of the computer output;
by the person who had obtained or been given control or access over any relevant records and facts in relation to the production of the computer output; or
by an expert appointed or accepted by the court.
(3) Notwithstanding subsections (1) and (2), the court may, if it thinks fit, require that oral evidence be given of any matters concerning the accuracy of the computer output, and may call a deponent of an affidavit under subsection (2) or any person responsible for a certificate issued under section 35(3), (4), (6), (7) or (8) for this purpose.
(4) In estimating the weight of any computer output admitted under section 35, regard shall be had to all the circumstances from which any inference can reasonably be drawn as to the accuracy or otherwise of the output and, in particular —
whether or not the information which the output reproduces or is derived from was supplied to the relevant computer, or recorded for the purpose of being supplied to it, contemporaneously with the occurrence or existence of the facts dealt with in that information, if such contemporaneity is relevant;
whether the supplier of the information or any person involved in the processing of such information had any incentive or motive to conceal or misrepresent the information so supplied.
(5) Without prejudice to subsections (1) to (4), whenever any computer output is proved under section 35, all matters may be proved in order —
to contradict or to corroborate it; or
to impeach or support the credibility of the person by whom it was made, or by whom the information was processed.
—(1) The Rules Committee constituted under the Supreme Court of Judicature Act (Cap. 322) may make rules to provide for the filing, receiving and recording of evidence and documents in court by the use of information technology in such form, manner or method as may be prescribed.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), such rules may —
modify such provisions of this Act as may be necessary for the purpose of facilitating the use of electronic filing of documents in court;
provide for the burden of proof and rebuttable presumptions in relation to the identity and authority of the person sending or filing the evidence or documents by the use of information technology; and
provide for the authentication of evidence and documents filed or received by the use of information technology.
37. An entry in any public or other official book, register or record, stating a fact in issue or relevant fact and made by a public officer in the discharge of his official duty or by any other person in performance of a duty specially enjoined by the law of the country in which such book, register or record is kept, is itself a relevant fact.
38. Statements of facts in issue or relevant facts made in published maps or charts generally offered for public sale, or in maps or plans made under the authority of Government as to matters usually represented or stated in such maps, charts or plans, are themselves relevant facts.
Relevancy of statement as to fact of public nature contained in certain Ordinances, Acts or notifications
39. When the court has to form an opinion as to the existence of any fact of a public nature, any statement of it made in a recital contained in —
any Act or Ordinance;
any legislation enacted by the Parliament of Malaysia or by the legislature of any part of the Commonwealth;
any legislation enacted by the legislature of any State of Malaysia; or
any printed paper purporting to be —
the Government Gazette;
the London Gazette; or
the Gazette printed under the authority of the Government of Malaysia or of any State thereof or of the government of any other part of the Commonwealth including, where such part is under both a central government and a local government, any such local government,
is a relevant fact.
40. When the court has to form an opinion as to a law of any country, any statement of the law contained in a book purporting to be printed or published under the authority of the government of the country, and to contain any such law, and any report of a ruling of the courts of the country contained in a book purporting to be a report of the rulings, is relevant.
How much of a statement is to be proved
What evidence to be given when statement forms part of a conversation, document, book or series of letters or papers
41. When any statement of which evidence is given forms part of a longer statement or of a conversation, or part of an isolated document or is contained in a document which forms part of a book or of a connected series of letters or papers, evidence shall be given of so much and no more of the statement, conversation, document, book or series of letters or papers as the court considers necessary in that particular case to the full understanding of the nature and effect of the statement and of the circumstances under which it was made.
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.
Opinions of third persons when relevant
—(1) When the court has to form an opinion upon a point of foreign law or of science or art, or as to the identity or genuineness of handwriting or finger impressions, the opinions upon that point of persons specially skilled in such foreign law, science or art, or in questions as to the identity or genuineness of handwriting or finger impressions, are relevant facts.
(2) Such persons are called experts.
The question is whether the death of A was caused by poison.
The opinions of experts as to the symptoms produced by the poison by which A is supposed to have died are relevant.
The question is whether A, at the time of doing a certain act, was by reason of unsoundness of mind, incapable of knowing the nature of the act or that he was doing what was either wrong or contrary to law.
The opinions of experts upon the question whether symptoms exhibited by A commonly show unsoundness of mind, and whether such unsoundness of mind usually renders persons incapable of knowing the nature of the acts which they do or of knowing that what they do is either wrong or contrary to law, are relevant.
The question is whether a certain document was written by A. Another document is produced which is proved or admitted to have been written by A.
The opinions of experts on the question whether the 2 documents were written by the same person or by different persons are relevant.
48. Facts not otherwise relevant are relevant if they support or are inconsistent with the opinions of experts when such opinions are relevant.
The question is whether A was poisoned by a certain poison.
The fact that other persons who were poisoned by that poison exhibited certain symptoms, which experts affirm or deny to be the symptoms of that poison, is relevant.
The question is whether an obstruction to a harbour is caused by a certain sea-wall.
The fact that other harbours similarly situated in other respects but where there were no such sea-walls began to be obstructed at about the same time is relevant.
49. When the court has to form an opinion as to the person by whom any document was written or signed, the opinion of any person acquainted with the handwriting of the person by whom it is supposed to be written or signed, that it was or was not written or signed by that person, is a relevant fact.
Explanation .—A person is said to be acquainted with the handwriting of another person when he has seen that person write, or when he has received documents purporting to be written by that person in answer to documents written by himself or under his authority and addressed to that person, or when, in the ordinary course of business, documents purporting to be written by that person have been habitually submitted to him.
The question is whether a given letter is in the handwriting of A, a merchant in London.
B is a merchant in Singapore, who has written letters addressed to A and received letters purporting to be written by him. C is B’s clerk, whose duty it was to examine and file B’s correspondence. D is B’s broker, to whom B habitually submitted the letters purporting to be written by A, for the purpose of advising him thereon.
The opinions of B, C and D on the question whether the letter is in the handwriting of A are relevant, though neither B, C nor D ever saw A write.
50. When the court has to form an opinion as to the existence of any general custom or right, the opinions as to the existence of such custom or right of persons who would be likely to know of its existence, if it existed, are relevant.
Explanation .—“General custom or right” includes customs or rights common to any considerable class of persons.
The right of the inhabitants of a particular kampong to use the water of a particular well is a general right within the meaning of this section.
51. When the court has to form an opinion as to —
the usages and tenets of any body of men or family;
the constitution and government of any religious or charitable foundation; or
the meaning of words or terms used in particular districts or by particular classes of people,
the opinions of persons having special means of knowledge thereon are relevant facts.
—(1) When the court has to form an opinion as to the relationship of one person to another, the opinion expressed by conduct as to the existence of such relationship of any person who as a member of the family or otherwise has special means of knowledge on the subject is a relevant fact.
(2) Such opinion shall not be sufficient to prove a marriage in prosecutions under section 494, 495 or 498of the Penal Code (Cap. 224).
(a) The question is whether A and B were married.
The fact that they were usually received and treated by their friends as husband and wife is relevant.
The question is whether A was a legitimate son of B.
The fact that A was always treated as such by members of the family is relevant.
Character when relevant
54. In civil cases the fact that the character of any person concerned is such as to render probable or improbable any conduct imputed to him is irrelevant, except in so far as such character appears from facts otherwise relevant.
55. In criminal proceedings, the fact that the person accused is of a good character is relevant.
—(1) In any criminal proceedings, the accused may —
personally or by his advocate ask questions of any witness with a view to establishing directly or by implication that he is generally or in a particular respect a person of good disposition or reputation;
himself give evidence tending to establish directly or by implication that he is generally or in a particular respect such a person; or
call a witness to give any such evidence.
(2) Where any of the things mentioned in subsection (1) has been done, the prosecution may call, and any person jointly charged with the accused may call or himself give, evidence to establish that the accused is a person of bad disposition or reputation, and the prosecution or any person so charged may in cross-examining any witness (including, where he gives evidence, the accused) ask him questions with a view to establishing that fact.
(3) Where by virtue of this section a party is entitled to call evidence to establish that the accused is a person of bad disposition or reputation, that party may call evidence of his previous convictions, if any, whether or not that party calls any other evidence for that purpose.
(4) Where by virtue of this section a party is entitled in cross-examining the accused to ask him questions with a view to establishing that he is such a person, section 122(4) shall not apply in relation to his cross-examination by that party.
57. In civil cases, the fact that the character of any person is such as to affect the amount of damages which he ought to receive is relevant.