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Evidence Act 1950 [Act 56]

11 When facts not otherwise relevant become relevant

Facts not otherwise relevant are relevant-

(a) if they are inconsistent with any fact in issue or relevant fact;

(b) 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.


ILLUSTRATIONS

(a) The question is whether A committed a crime at Kuala Lumpur on a certain day.

The fact that on that day A was at Taiping 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.

(b) 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 for damages facts tending to enable court to determine amount are relevant

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 Facts relevant when right or custom is in question

Where the question is as to the existence of any right or custom the following facts are relevant:

(a) any transaction by which the right or custom in question was created, claimed, modified, recognized, asserted or denied or which was inconsistent with its existence;

(b) particular instances in which the right or custom was claimed, recognized or exercised or in which its exercise was disputed, asserted or departed from.


ILLUSTRATION

The question is whether A has a right to a fishery. A document conferring the fishery on A's ancestors, a pledge of the fishery by A's father, a subsequent grant of the fishery by A's father irreconcilable with the pledge, 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 existence of state of mind or of body or bodily feeling

Facts showing the existence of any state of mind, such as intention, knowledge, good faith, negligence, rashness, ill-will or goodwill 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 that person shall also be a relevant fact.

ILLUSTRATIONS

(a) 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.

(b) 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.

(c) 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.

(a) 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.

(e) 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.

(f) 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.

(g) 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 proving 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.

(h) 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.

(i) 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.

(j) 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.

(k) 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.

(l) 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.

(m) 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.

(n) A sues B for negligence in providing him with a carriage 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 carriage is relevant.

The fact that B was habitually negligent about the carriages which he let to hire is irrelevant.

(o) 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.

(p) 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 Facts bearing on question whether act was accidental or intentional

When there is a question whether an act was accidental or intentional or done with a particular knowledge or intention, the fact that the act formed part of series of similar occurrences, in each of which the person doing the act was concerned, is relevant.

ILLUSTRATIONS

(a) 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.

(b) 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.

(c) A is accused of fraudulently delivering to B a counterfeit ringgit.

The question is whether the delivery of the ringgit was accidental.

The facts that soon before or soon after the delivery to B, A delivered counterfeit ringgit to C, D and E are relevant as showing that the delivery to B was not accidental.

16 Existence of course of business when relevant

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.

ILLUSTRATIONS

(a) 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.

(b) 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

17 Admission and confession defined

(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.

(3) Subsection (2) shall have no application in Sarawak.

18 Admission by party to proceeding, his agent or person interested

(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 authorized 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-

(a) 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

(b) 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 Admissions by persons whose position must be proved as against party to suit

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 those 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 that position or is subject to that liability.

ILLUSTRATIONS

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 Admissions by persons expressly referred to by party to suit

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.

ILLUSTRATION

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.


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