REPUBLIC OF SINGAPORE
Published by Authority
|NO. 10]||Friday, February 16||[1996|
The following Act was passed by Parliament on 18th January 1996 and assented to by the President on 30th January 1996:—
Evidence (Amendment) Act 1996
(No. 8 of 1996)
ONG TENG CHEONG,
30th January 1996.
Date of Commencement: 8th March 1996
An Act to amend the Evidence Act (Chapter 97 of the 1990 Revised Edition) and to make consequential amendment to the Computer Misuse Act (Chapter 50A of the 1994 Revised Edition).
Be it enacted by the President with the advice and consent of the Parliament of Singapore, as follows:
—(1) This Act may be cited as the Evidence (Amendment) Act 1996 and shall come into operation on such date as the Minister may, by notification in the Gazette, appoint.
(2) Section 3 shall apply to any judicial proceedings in or before any court which takes place on or after the commencement of this Act, and the court may make any order as it thinks fit to give effect to that section.
(3) Section 8 shall not apply to an act done before the commencement of this Act.
2. Section 3 of the Evidence Act is amended by inserting immediately before the definition of “court”, the following definitions:
“ “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 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;
a device similar to those referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) which is non-programmable or which does contain any data storage facility;
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;”.
3. Sections 35 and 36 of the Evidence Act are repealed and the following sections substituted therefor:
—(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 exist 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) Any reference to “approved process” in this section 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 started 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,
except that evidence may not be given of any matter of which, if that person had been called as a witness and had denied that matter upon cross-examination, evidence could not have been adduced by the cross-examining party.
—(1) The Rules Committee constituted under the Supreme Court of Judicature Act 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.”.
4. The Evidence Act is amended by inserting, immediately after section 45, the following section:
—(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.
5. The Evidence Act is amended by inserting, immediately after section 62, the following section:
—(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, a person may, with leave of the court, give evidence through a live video or live television link in any proceedings, other than proceedings in a criminal matter, if —
the witness is below the age of 16 years;
it is expressly agreed between the parties to the proceedings that evidence may be so given;
the witness is outside Singapore; or
the court is satisfied that it is expedient in the interests of justice to do so.
(2) In considering whether to grant leave for a witness outside Singapore to give evidence by live video or live television link under this section, the court shall have regard to all the circumstances of the case including the following:
the reasons for the witness being unable to give evidence in Singapore;
the administrative and technical facilities and arrangements made at the place where the witness is to give his evidence; and
whether any party to the proceedings would be unfairly prejudiced.
(3) The court may, in granting leave under subsection (1), make an order on any or all of the following matters:
the persons who may be present at the place where the witness is giving evidence;
that a person be excluded from the place while the witness is giving evidence;
the persons in the courtroom who must be able to be heard, or seen and heard, by the witness and by the persons with the witness;
the persons in the courtroom who must not be able to be heard, or seen and heard, by the witness and by the persons with the witness;
the persons in the courtroom who must be able to see and hear the witness and the persons with the witness;
the stages in the proceedings during which a specified part of the order is to have effect;
the method of operation of the live video or live television link system including compliance with such minimum technical standards as may be determined by the Chief Justice; and
any other order the court considers necessary in the interests of justice.
(4) The court may revoke, suspend or vary an order made under this section if —
the live video or live television link system stops working and it would cause unreasonable delay to wait until a working system becomes available;
it is necessary for the court to do so to comply with its duty to ensure that the proceedings are conducted fairly to the parties thereto;
it is necessary for the court to do so, so that the witness can identify a person or a thing or so that the witness can participate in or view a demonstration or an experiment;
it is necessary for the court to do so because part of the proceedings is being heard outside a courtroom; or
there has been a material change in the circumstances after the court has made an order.
(5) The court shall not make an order under this section, or include a particular provision in such an order, if to do so would be inconsistent with the court’s duty to ensure that the proceedings are conducted fairly to the parties to the proceedings.
(6) An order made under this section shall not cease to have effect merely because the person in respect of whom it was made attains the age of 16 years before the proceedings in which it was made are finally determined.
(7) Evidence given by a witness, whether in Singapore or elsewhere, through a live video or live television link by virtue of this section shall be deemed for the purposes of sections 193, 194, 195, 196, 205 and 209 of the Penal Code [Cap. 224] as having been given in the proceedings in which it is given.
(8) Where a witness gives evidence in accordance with this section, he shall, for the purposes of this Act, be deemed to be giving evidence in the presence of the court.
(9) The Rules Committee constituted under the Supreme Court of Judicature Act [Cap. 322] may make such rules as appear to it to be necessary or expedient for the purpose of giving effect to this section and for prescribing anything which may be prescribed under this section..”.
6. Section 65 of the Evidence Act is amended —
by deleting the words “mechanical processes” in paragraph (b) and substituting the words “electronic, electrochemical, chemical, magnetic, mechanical, optical, telematic or other technical processes”; and
by inserting, immediately after paragraph (b) of the Illustrations, the following paragraph:
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.”.
7. The Evidence Act is amended by inserting, immediately after section 68, the following section:
—(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.”.
8. Section 115 of the Evidence Act is repealed.