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Evidence Act 1950 [Act 56]

Part I   cite [+]

RELEVANCY

Chapter I   cite [+]

PRELIMINARY

1 Short title   cite [+]

This Act may be cited as the Evidence Act 1950.

2 Extent   cite [+]

This Act 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.

3 Interpretation   cite [+]

In this Act, 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, storage and display 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, or a portable hand held calculator or other similar device which is non-programmable or which does not contain any data storage facility;

"court" means a court established by or under Part IX of the Federal Constitution and includes-

(a) a Judge;

(b) a Sessions Court Judge;

(c) a Magistrate; and

(d) except an arbitrator, every person legally authorized to take evidence;


"document" means any matter expressed, described, or howsoever represented, upon any substance, material, thing or article, including any matter embodied in a disc, tape, film, sound-track or other device whatsoever, by means of-

(a) letters, figures, marks, symbols, signals, signs, or other forms of expression, description, or representation whatsoever;

(b) any visual recording (whether of still or moving images);

(c) any sound recording, or any electronic, magnetic, mechanical or other recording whatsoever and howsoever made, or any sounds, electronic impulses, or other data whatsoever;

(d) a recording, or transmission, over a distance of any matter by any, or any combination, of the means mentioned in paragraph (a), (b) or (c),


or by more than one of the means mentioned in paragraphs (a), (b), (c) and (d), intended to be used or which may be used for the purpose of expressing, describing, or howsoever representing, that matter;

ILLUSTRATIONS

A writing is a document.

Words printed, lithographed or photographed are documents.

A map, plan, graph or sketch is a document.

An inscription on wood, metal, stone or any other substance, material or thing is a document.

A drawing, painting, picture or caricature is a document.

A photograph or a negative is a document.

A tape recording of a telephonic communication, including a recording of such communication transmitted over distance, is a document.

A photographic or other visual recording, including a recording of a photographic or other visual transmission over a distance, is a document.

A matter recorded, stored, processed, retrieved or produced by a computer is a document;


"evidence" includes-

(a) 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;

(b) all documents produced for the inspection of the court: such documents are called documentary evidence;


"fact" means and includes-

(a) any thing, state of things or relation of things capable of being perceived by the senses;

(b) any mental condition of which any person is conscious;


ILLUSTRATIONS

(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" means 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;

ILLUSTRATIONS

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;



"film" includes a microfilm and any negative;

"microfilm" means any transparent material bearing a visual image in reduced size either singly or as a series and includes a microfiche;

"negative" means a transparent negative photograph on any substance or material, and includes any transparent negative photograph made from the original negative photograph;

"proved": 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;

"disproved": 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;

"not proved": a fact is said to be "not proved" when it is neither proved nor disproved;

"relevant": 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.

4 Presumption   cite [+]

(1) Whenever it is provided by this Act that the court may presume a fact, it may either regard the 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 the 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.

Chapter II   cite [+]

RELEVANCY OF FACTS

General

5 Evidence may be given of facts in issue and relevant facts   cite [+]

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 the law relating to civil procedure.

ILLUSTRATIONS

(a) 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 the beating; and

A's intention to cause B's death.

(b) 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 the document in evidence on his behalf in that suit, otherwise than in accordance with the conditions prescribed by the law relating to civil procedure.

6 Relevancy of facts forming part of same transaction   cite [+]

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.

ILLUSTRATIONS

(a) 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.

(b) A is accused of waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong 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.

(c) 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.

(d) 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 of facts in issue   cite [+]

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 of their occurrence or transaction, are relevant.

ILLUSTRATIONS

(a) 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.

(b) 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.

(c) 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.

8 Motive, preparation and previous or subsequent conduct   cite [+]

(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 that 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 the 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 his conduct is relevant.

ILLUSTRATIONS

(a) 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.

(b) 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.

(c) 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.

(d) 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.

(e) 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.

(f) 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.

(g) The question is whether A owes B RM10,000.

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 RM10,000," and that A went away without making any answer are relevant facts.

(h) 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.

(i) 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.

(j) 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-

(i) as a dying declaration under paragraph 32(1)(a); or

(ii) as corroborative evidence under section 157.

(k) 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-

(i) as a dying declaration under paragraph 32(1)(a); or

(ii) as corroborative evidence under section 157.

9 Facts necessary to explain or introduce relevant facts   cite [+]

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 so far as they are necessary for that purpose.

ILLUSTRATIONS

(a) 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.

(b) A sues B for a 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.

(c) 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.

(d) 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.

(e) 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.

(f) 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 Things said or done by conspirator in reference to common design   cite [+]

Where there is reasonable ground to believe that two or more persons have conspired together to commit an offence or an actionable wrong, anything said, done or written by any one of those persons, in reference to their common intention after the time when the 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.

ILLUSTRATION

Reasonable ground exists for believing that A has joined in a conspiracy to wage war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

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 Seberang Perai, 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.


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