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.