Hearsay mugs.pdf

December 29, 2017 | Author: Lara Young | Category: Hearsay, Evidence (Law), Relevance (Law), Witness, Evidence
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Hearsay 1.


Does the evidence go towards showing the existence of any fact in dispute or relevant fact? o

Starting point is that the issue at trial must be identified


If the evidence is irrelevant to the issue at trial, then it is strictly speaking inadmissible à no need to even consider the hearsay rule

o •

Conversely, if its relevant (see s 5 to 11), its presumptively admissible

Was the statement made out of court? If so, is the maker of the statement called as a witness? o

If the statement wasn’t made out of court or if the maker of the statement is called as a witness à hearsay rule does not apply

What is the purpose of tendering the statement o

Statement is not hearsay if: §

The making of the statement itself is the fact in issue (Choo Pit Hong);


The statement is indicative of a fact in issue (Woodhouse);


The statement is of legal significance by virtue of the rules of law, such that the statement is tendered to show the constitution of legal acts, irrespective of the truth or contents of the statement (Keimfarben);


Statement can be admitted as direct and primary evidence of the state of mind of the maker or recipient of the statement to show the state of mind or of body or bodily feeling when such existence is in issue or relevant (PP v Subramaniam, Ratten)


Statement is hearsay if it is used to prove the TRUTH of the facts of the statement. If it is hearsay is it: §

An express assertion by statement (R v Gibson);


An express assertion by conduct (Chandrasekera);


An implied assertion (Teper v R); or


A negative assertion (R v Patel);


An implied assertion by conduct? à This is a dodge one because s 32A of the EA only covers verbal statements since it only includes “protest, greeting, and verbal utterance”, which evinces clear statutory intent to exclude conduct

If it is hearsay, does it fall under the exceptions to the hearsay rule? o

Does anything from s 17 – 40 apply?


Does res gestae apply?


Can we argue that the statement is circumstantial evidence? (Ratten, Kearley)


Can we argue that the statement is real evidence? §

COUNTER: these ways of evading the HSR should recede in importance now that the amended EA has a more lenient scheme for HSE



Fundamental rule of evidence that the evidence that’s adduced to prove a fact must be reliable o

Locus classicus is testamentary evidence - witness testifies as to what he himself directly perceives, rather than what other persons have perceived and recounted to him §

Per Lord Normand in R v Teper, HSE “is not delivered on oath… cannot be tested by cross-examination, and the light which his demeanour would throw on his testimony is lost”


As such, the rule against hearsay avoids the introduction of unreliable out-of-court assertions and ensures that only the ‘best evidence’ is put before the court §

Why? Because the truthfulness and accuracy of out of court statements cannot be tested by xx


Additionally, the light which the speaker’s demeanour would throw on his testimony is also lost

Effect of the hearsay rule - hearsay evidence is only admitted pursuant to one of the variety of statutory exceptions which require specific conditions relating to:o

The nature of the statement - because of a particular situation, the statement has an element of reliability;


The reason for the absence of the maker - therefore this is the best available evidence; §

There are ancillary requirements regarding proof (the form in which the statement is presented), or reliability (there are opportunities for the other party to challenge the veracity of the statement/the maker).

Rationale for Hearsay Rule o

Axiomatic that a court should have access to the best available sources of evidence. Via the forensic tools available in a common law trial for assessing the credibility of a witness – the oath, the demeanour of the witness, xx of the witness, and external evidence relevant to the witness’ credibility – the court can estimate how much reliance to place on a witness’ testimony.


However, the court and the witness cannot verify the truth of the facts in another person’s out of court statement §

Witness not legally obliged to account for someone else's testimony under oath → lacks a vital safeguard


Deprives the opposing party of the right to confront or challenge a witness who gives evidence against them during xx. This in turn compromises the truth-seeking process, because xx is an important means of challenging the probative value of a testimony, and has an additional process value of reinforcing the legitimacy of the adjudication in the eyes of the parties and the public. •

Furthermore, per the Ned Stark argument, a face-to-face confrontation with one’s accusers is part of what society owes its citizens as rational creatures with the capacity to give and receive justice, before it can legitimately convict them of a criminal offence and impose just punishment


Furthermore, two main ways it could go wrong: §

No way to ascertain whether the statement made is a fabrication, a mistake, an exaggeration since the speaker is not testifying, the court doesn’t get the chance to examine him; 2

§ o

Error in transmission from the witness to the speaker.

Therefore compromises the court’s ability to assess the value of the evidence

A . Basis of Hearsay Rule In The EA •

Past consensus was that the common law exclusionary rule either applies independently or through s 62 o

S 62 requires that oral evidence be direct → witness can only testify what he has perceived himself


However, s 62 clearly doesn’t encapsulate the entirety of the hearsay rule and it is a facet of the HSR at best. §

It doesn’t distinguish between assertions that are tendered as evidence of the facts referred to (hearsay), and assertions which are relevant by virtue of having been made (not hearsay);


S 62 is also in the proof section and not in the admissibility section;


Finally, s 62 only concerns oral evidence, and doesn’t affect assertions made in documents or made via conduct

This was criticised by Rajah JA in Lee Chez Kee, who stressed that to argue that the exclusionary HSR existed “within or independently” of the EA “[implies] the existence of something… beyond the intention of [Stephen]” (at [66]) o

Particularly, importing HSR into SG via s 62 “[confuses] a mode of proof with the type of proof” (at [73])


However, Rajah JA himself fails to provide an alternative solution for reconciling EA with the exclusionary hearsay rule as understood in common law, and the 2012 amendments also fail to define either the term “hearsay” or the phrase “statements of relevant fact” in s 32, which is generally considered an exception to the hearsay rule.

However, no one’s really going to argue that there therefore isn’t a HSR in SG à Prof Chin Tet Yung in his 2014 article suggests that hearsay issues should be analysed in two steps – (1) Is the evidence hearsay evidence at common law, and (2) If so, does it fall under one of the exceptions under the EA


Case Law

Lee Chez Kee v PP [2008] SGCA 20 Facts

A and 2 accomplices robbed V at his house. At V’s house, he punched and stabbed V. o

A claimed that he thought V was still alive when he left the house


Crucially, post-mortem examination revealed that the cause of V’s death was strangulation by electric cord

Accomplices were both unavailable to testify at A’s trial, and P sought to rely on statements made by one of the accomplices at the time of his arrest


HSE is defined at common law as referring to “statements made out of court adduced to prove the facts contained therein” (at [64])

However, it is not accurate to define the HSR as an exclusionary rule in the EA given that our EA was intended to be inclusionary (at [66]). o

To argue that the exclusionary HSR existed “within or independently” of the 3

EA “[implies] the existence of something… beyond the intention of [Stephen]” (at [66]) •

The TYL/HHL argument is that the EA may not explicitly define hearsay, but it contains an implicit acknowledgement of the HSR, because HSE is perceived as being a statement of relevant facts, and is as such an irrelevant fact, as opposed to a statement, which is itself, declared by the EA as being a relevant fact. This is evinced by an absence of any general provisions making statements of relevant facts themselves relevant facts.

Consequently, where exceptions to hearsay are intended to be relevant, the HSE is admissible specifically as a relevant fact; The EA therefore gives effect to the common law exceptions to the hearsay rule.

B. Definition of Hearsay •

Per PP v Subramaniam: “Evidence of a statement made to a witness by a person who is not himself called as a witness is hearsay and is inadmissible when the OBJECT of the evidence is to establish the TRUTH of what is contained in the statement” o

Not hearsay when the evidence is proposed to establish not the truth of the statement, but the fact that it was made

Per Lee Chez Kee: The assertions of a person made out of court (whether orally or in documentary form or in the form of conduct) tendered to prove the facts which they refer to are inadmissible, unless they fall within the scope of the established exceptions

There is no definition of hearsay in the EA, which only determines when a statement made out of court is relevant or irrelevant

v •

Statements as Facts in Issue – making the statement is an element of the charge

Out of court statements that are simultaneously facts in issue can be tendered as evidence to show their occurrence, but not as evidence of the facts they refer to o

E.g. criminal or tortious actions such as defamation, criminal libel, extortion, sedition, conspiracy or breach of restraint of trade (?), where the words were uttered themselves may constitute the criminal or tortious act §

I.e. I will admit this evidence for proof that you said bad shit about LKY, and not proof that LKY fucked Margaret Thatcher (which goes to the contents of the statement)


Per PP v Subramaniam – evidence of threats was adduced to prove that threats were made, but not that the threats were true

Choo Pit Hong Peter v PP [1995] 1 SLR(R) 834 (SGHC Yong CJ) – Statement constitutes Fact In Issue; Not Hearsay Facts

A was a remisier charged with intentionally giving false evidence to officers from the Commercial Affairs Department while being bound by s 193 of the Penal Code to state the truth o

A allegedly told them that he had met and verified the particulars of 29 of his alleged clients when he had not


At trial, A alleged that the statements he had given the CAD officers were made as a result of threats & inducements 4


A’s statements to the CAD did not infringe the hearsay rule as they constituted the crime which he had been charged

Regardless of whether the statements were confessions, the statements are not evidence to prove the two charges of giving false evidence

Any challenge to the admissibility of the statements was misconceived – even if they were made as a result of ITPs, making the statement constituted the fact in issue (admissible under s 5)

v •

Statement indicative of a fact in issue – making the statement is a relevant fact

Statements may be tendered if their making, rather than the facts that they contain, is indicative of the facts in issue – i.e. Irrespective of whether its true, the fact that it was made is a relevant fact Woodhouse v Hall (1980) 72 Cr App Rep 39 (CA) – Statement Indicative of Facts in Issue; Not Hearsay Facts

An officer went undercover to a brothel which was disguised as a massage parlour

Tendered evidence that while he was on the premises, several ladies made offers of sexual services, which the trial judge held was inadmissible as HSE


Donaldson LJ held that the evidence was wrongly excluded as hearsay o

The mere fact that evidence of a witness includes evidence as to words spoken by another party who has not been called as a witness is in itself no objection to admissibility, as words spoken are just facts, as much as any other action by a human being.


Question of hearsay only arises when the words spoken are relied on testimonially, in this case, we only rely on the fact that they were spoken


In this case, the relevant issue is whether the ladies made these offers, so the fact that the words were spoken was relevant to this fact in issue

Evaluation o

If you contrast this case to Peter Choo, the evidence isn’t the very making of the statement, they are only relevant because they impliedly assert that the police can obtain sexual services from women on the premises

v •

Legally Operative Words

The existence of a statement may have legal significance, such that the purpose of adducing such statements would be to show the constitution of the legal acts, irrespective of any underlying subjective intention o

E.g. An email concluding a contract or a trust is admissible, because on an objective viewpoint, we assess whether a offer/acceptance exists because its an objective reasonable man test. It doesn’t really matter whether it’s true because that’s not what we’re relying on

Keimfarben GmbH & Co KG v Soo Nam Yuen – Legally Operative Words; Not Hearsay Facts

Issue in dispute was the price of paints at the first auction date 5


To prove the value of the paints, Df adduced evidence of a letter from a 3P coy offering to buy the paint and fixing the maximum unit prices that they were agreeable to


This evidence is inadmissible hearsay – Df was relying on the letter to establish the truth of its contents, the market value of the paints

However, the maker of the offer was not present in court to confirm that on this date, he genuinely was willing and able to purchase paints at that price

v •

Statements that reveal state of mind or physical state

It is not hearsay when the statement is relied on as direct and primary evidence of the state of mind of the maker or the recipient of the statement, and not the truth of the statement, where the existence of a state of mind, body, or bodily feeling is directly in issue or relevant at trial.

Such statements can be admitted under s 14: o

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.

PP v Subramaniam [1956] 1 MLJ 220 (PC on appeal from Malaya) – Statement Reveal State of Mind; not hearsay Facts

A was found with three pouches of live rounds of ammunition, and claimed that he had been forced by terrorists to operate with them, and would have killed him if he didn’t comply

Issue was whether the A’s evidence of threats from the alleged terrorists and his conversations with them is admissible


Evidence is admissible o

Evidence of a statement made to a witness by a person who is not himself called as a witness is not hearsay if it is adduced to establish the fact that the statement was made (which A did perceive), as opposed to the truth of the statement


PC determined that the evidence should be admitted because the purpose of tendering the statements was not to prove factual content (that they would have killed A), but rather to show A’s state of mind (that he believed that they would have killed him)


A’s statement is therefore relevant to the defence of duress, as duress depends on how A reacted to the threat, and not on whether the threat was true or whether it would be carried out

R v Ratten [1972] AC 378 (PC) – Statement Reveal State of Mind; not hearsay Facts

A was convicted for the murder of his wife, but his defence was that the gen had 6

discharged accidentally while he was cleaning it •

To rebut that defence, P called evidence from a telephone operator testified that she had received a telephone call 3 minutes before the shooting from A’s house, and a female voice answered, was hysterical and sobbing, and said ‘get me the police’


Was the operator’s evidence hearsay

Per Lord Wilberforce, the evidence was not hearsay and was admissible as evidence of a relevant fact à V’s state of mind o

The mere fact that W’s evidence includes evidence of words spoken by another who is not called is not an objection to its admissibility.


spoken are facts just as much as any other action by a human being. If the speaking of the words (and not the contents) is a relevant fact, and W can give evidence that they were spoken o

Operator’s evidence that the voice was hysterical and sobbing, and that the caller desired for the police to be called was relevant as showing that V was in a state of emotion or fear à relevant to the defence of accident

Crucially, on A’s argument that the evidence was tendered as evidence of an assertion by V that she was being attacked by A, with the effect that it was hearsay, their Lordships thought it was right to deal with As submission on the assumption that there is a hearsay element to the evidence, and went on to find that even if the evidence was hearsay, it would be admissible under the doctrine res gestae o

Suggests that its difficult to tell when evidence of a state of mind may contain an implied assertion

R v Blastland [1986] AC 41 (HL) – Statement Reveal State of Mind; not hearsay provided relevant Facts

Case of murder and buggery of a boy - A admitted to the charge of buggery, but sought to tender statements from a passerby M who made statements indicating knowledge that the boy had been murdered even before anyone discovered the body → SUSPICIOUS


HoL held that M’s state of mind was not directly in issue on a prosecution of A o

While statements made to a witness by a 3P are no excluded by the HSR if they are adduced solely to prove the state of mind of either the maker of statement or the person who the statement was made to, the principle only applies when the state if mind in question is either itself directly in issue, or directly and immediately relevant to an issue arising at trial


The issue at trial is whether A had buggered and murdered the boy - M knowing that the boy was murdered is neither in issue or relevant to the issue §

What was relevant wasn’t what M knew, but how M knew it, which is a matter of pure speculation which A’s statements has no probative value regarding

Lord Griffiths in Kearley said that it is settled law that A cannot prove in evidence a confession to the same crime made by a 3P who isn’t a witness à hearsay o

However, if A wished to call witnesses to say that M told them a boy was 7

murdered, this is admissible as proving M’s knowledge, and knowledge is a state of mind o

But it’s a strange state of affairs – if M confesses, we cannot adduce the evidence, but if he merely hints that he committed the murder, we can adduce it under this exception

Can take Blastland to stand for two things: o

[1] The mental or physical state must itself be directly in issue at trial – M’s mental state was not in issue – how he had the knowledge was relevant;


[2] The statement must be directly relevant in considering the state of mind or physical state – A’s evidence was not probative as to how M knew the boy was dead

3. ASSERTIONS THAT CONSTITUTE HEARSAY A. Intended Assertions by Statement or Conduct •

If a statement is made by a maker with an intention to convey a fact, which is precisely the fact that the court is asked to believe, it would constitute a “statement of relevant facts” under s 32 – asserts the truth of what was said

v •

Oral assertions

R v Gibson – P‘s testimony that an unidentified woman pointed at A’s house and said ‘that paerson who threw the stone went in there’ was held to be admissible, as it was adduced to prove the truth of what the woman said o

Dennis: the court is asked to assume that the statement was true despite not being in the position to assess the unidentified woman’s reliability as a reporter of the events

R v Sparks – A, a white man, was convicted of indecent assault of a young girl. TJ refused to allow the Defence to call the girl’s mother to testify that about an hour an a half after the incident, her daughter told her a coloured boy had assaulted her. o

On appeal, TJ’s decision not to admit the evidence was upheld – the purpose of producing the statement was to prove the facts stated – that a coloured boy, and not A had committed the act


Assertions by Conduct o

Chandrasekera – W’s testimony as to V’s nod of assent to the question of whether it was A who cut her throat was held to constitute ‘statements, written or verbal, of relevant facts’ under s 32 of the Ceylon Evidence Ordinance

v •

Implied Assertions

Implied assertions are statements or conduct that are not intended by the speaker to assert the fact that the evidence is tendered to prove, but nonetheless implied the maker’s belief in the existence of the fact the evidence is tendered to prove



Essentially, the court treats the implied statement/conduct as equivalent to an express assertion of the fact to be proved

Should implied assertions fall within the hearsay rule?


Implied assertions are generally accepted to be more reliable than express assertions because they are frequently unintended, such that the maker has no usually has no intention to deceive in respect of the facts implied by his statement or conduct. Hence, the risks of manufactured or fabricated evidence are significantly lessened. §

There is therefore no compelling systemic reason for applying the HSR to such evidence


Additionally, considering the abolition of the jury trial in Singapore, there is no danger that a jury may place undue emphasis on such an assertion. By taking into account all relevant actors, the court is in a more favourable position to accord the appropriate weight to such evidence


In fact, implied assertions arguably should not be treated as hearsay, but as evidence upon which the court may draw the appropriate inferences based on a careful examination of the circumstances, such as whether the inferences drawn are supported or contradicted by other evidence. §

This provides a much more flexible process for determining the truth of the facts then the hearsay rule, and arguably enables the adjudication process to become more accurate


This is the view proffered by Minister of Law K Shanmugam during the Second Reading of the Evidence (Amendment) Bill: What we are doing now is… to give the courts the discretion to sieve through the evidence to see which part should be allowed if the judge believes that to be in the interests of justice in the particular case. We should not approach the cases and the evidence as a series of technical hurdles for the prosecution to jump. We must also remember that there is an interest of society in allowing relevant evidence, and that the judge is best placed to decide on what is relevant


Implied assertions may be more unreliable than express assertions, because they are based on perceptions that cannot actually be verified unless the maker of the statement or conduct is in court (Majority in Kearley) §

The maker of the statement may have mistaken the identity or misunderstood the situation, the witness may have misheard or misunderstood the maker, or the court may have drawn the wrong inference altogether •

E.g. she may just call her fuckboi “daddy”

Implied assertions may just introduce additional elements of ambiguity or imprecision, further increasing the danger of unreliable evidence at court

What is the Singapore position? o

There is a distinction between assertions implied in statements and assertions implied in conduct – only assertions implied in statements are inadmissible hearsay §

In s 32A, only verbal statements fall within s 32(1), which governs the exception to the HSR. By purposely excluding conduct and including on protests, greetings and verbal utterances, it is suggested by Chinty that the Legislature clearly intended for 9

implied assertions by conduct not to be caught by the hearsay rule in the first place. §

Considering Rajah JA’s judicial direction in Lee Chez Kee, and the structure of the EA, such evidence is arguably admissible under s 8(2), which admits evidence of the conduct of the party or his agent, which is relevant to a fact in issue or a relevant fact. •

Therefore, evidence of A’s conduct is relevant if the conduct influences or is influenced by any fact in issue or relevant fact

Chinty says that such a position is untenable – the statement “hello X” is excluded, but the conduct of waving to X is not

Implied Assertions by Statements Wright v doe d Tatham (1837) 112 ER 488 – Third party statements made out of court which imply an opinion or statement on the matter at issue is inadmissible hearsay Facts

Issue was whether a testator was mentally competent to make a will

Person who claimed the will’s validity sought to prove the testator’s mental competency at the time of making the will by adducing certain letters written by 3Ps to the testator, for the purpose of showing that the writers (who were all dead) must have assumed that he was sane as seen from the style of their language


Letters are inadmissible for the purpose of proving that the testator was mentally competent because they were tendered to prove the writers’ implied assertions concerning the testator’s sanity o

The question is whether the contents of the letters are evidence of the fact that the party seeks to prove


The fact sought to be proven was the testator’s mental competence, which was proven based on the truth of the contents of the letters, which the writers are not on oath to testify to


Proof of a particular fact or opinion implied by a 3P is inadmissible in all cases where a statement of that fact or opinion not of oath would be of itself inadmissible

Examples of other implied assertions: o

If the family of the testator took precautions in his absence as though he were a lunatic;


If he was elected to some high and responsible offence;


If a physician permitted the will to be executed by the testator;


On a question of seaworthiness, if the captain, after examining every part of the vessel, embarked on it with his family

Supported by Teper v R [1952] (PC from British Guiana) Facts

A was charged with setting fire to his shop maliciously and with an intent to defraud.

P wanted to adduce evidence from a police constable for the purposes of identification – constable said that he heard an unidentified woman shouting “your


place is burning and you going away from the fire”, and saw a black car being driven away from the direction of the fire by a man resembling A /held/

Evidence was inadmissible – the rule against the admission of hearsay evidence is fundamental, and since the woman was not a witness truthfulness and accuracy of the woman’s words could not be tested by cross examination, and the light which demeanor threw on a testimony was also lost

Not the best evidence if it is not delivered under oath

Dennis: This is very weak evidence, you’re asking the court to rely on the judgment of an unidentified woman in an excited crowd at night who had caught the glimpse of a man who may have been A

Walton v R [1989] HCA 9 – The statement “hello daddy” by a child over the phone amounted to an implied assertion that the child was speaking to its father. Mason CJ held that the possibility of fabrication was so unlikely that the admission could not be regarded as improper - “the hearsay rule is less rigorous in its application to implied assertions than it is in the case of express assertions. It is for the trial judge to decide whether or not a particular implied assertion is of a kind to which the rationale underlying the hearsay rule would be relevant” Facts

A was charged with the murder of his wife o

[1] Three witnesses testified that the wife told them that she was going to meet A


[2] Another witness testified that prior to the murder, the wife spoke to someone on the phone and arranged a meet the caller at the Town Centre and told her son “M, daddy’s on the phone” à express assertion

o /held/

[3] M spoke on the phone sating “Hello, daddy”

[1] Court held that this was admissible as original evidence of V’s state of mind – trial judge took care to advise the jury that this evidence was only admissible as evidence that V intended to meet Df, and not for the further proposition that she actually met Df

[2] Ditto, because the testimony was otherwise merely hearsay assertions concerning the identity of the caller

[3] The interesting part o

The majority held that the words uttered by the boy were mere hearsay, and strictly speaking inadmissible. §

The value of what the boy said lay in the truth of the implied assertion that the person he was speaking to on the phone was in fact his “daddy”


However, Mason CJ was of the opinion that the objection made to the admissibility of the testimony that the boy said “hello daddy” is based on the assumption that the statement contains an implied assertion as to the identity of the caller, and this assertion amounts to an inadmissible hearsay §

Implied assertion – an assertion inferred from a statement or from conduct, generally not deliberately intended by the author


While it is necessary to apply the same rules regarding admissibility to 11

both implied and express assertions, where an assertion is not made directly by words or actions but is derived by implication from those words or actions, there will be depending of relevant circumstances of the case, often be special considerations relevant to the determination of admissibility o

Hearsay rule should not be applied inflexibly §

Where the dangers which the rule seeks to prevent are not present or are negligible in the circumstances of the case, there is no basis for a strict application of the rule


Equally, where the trial judge is of the opinion that the dangers are outweighed by other aspects of the case lending reliability & probative value to the impugned evidence, the judge should not exclude the evidence due to a rigid & technical application of the HSR – while it must be borne in mind that there are often considerable dangers that justify the existence of the rule, especially in the field of implied assertions, there will be occasions where the circumstances will combine to render the evidence sufficiently reliable for it to be considered and evaluated, notwithstanding that strict application of the HSR renders it inadmissible

Rule App: o

Factors favouring admission - the extreme unlikelihood of concoction on the part of the child §

The unlikelihood of concoction would often be a factor of sufficient weight to justify admission of the evidence for purposes of evaluation


Factors that do not favour admission – lack of opportunity to xx the child


Therefore with implied assertions, HSR is less rigorous à for TJ to decide whether or not a particular implied assertion is of a kind to which the rationale underlying the HSR would be relevant §

If yes à judge may determine that it would be dangerous to admit the HSE, and ordinary HSR + exceptions apply •

Would include almost all express assertions, because they lend themselves readily to a suspicion of concoction


But if assertion is made by implication, on the balancing of competing considerations, the court can use a less strict approach in “very rare cases”

EA is archaic as a code – does it allow for such a discretion, even if none of the exceptions are triggered


R v Ratten [1972] AC 378 (PC) – Statement revealed state of mind; not hearsay Facts

A was convicted for the murder of his wife, but his defence was that the gen had discharged accidentally while he was cleaning it

To rebut that defence, P called evidence from a telephone operator testified that she had received a telephone call 3 minutes before the shooting from A’s house, and a female voice answered, was hysterical and sobbing, and said ‘get me the police’


Was the operator’s evidence hearsay

Did wife’s request involve an implied assertion that she was about to be attacked by her husband or was the statement admissible as original evidence to show her state of mind (i.e. not to assert that he was about to attack her, but to show that there was a sobbing & hysterical woman)? o

See above?


R v Kearley [1992] 2 AC 228 (HL) - P sought to adduce evidence of certain telephone calls made to A’s house. The callers requested to speak to A, and asked to be supplied with drugs •

Majority – evidence was not admissible to show the callers’ state of mind or beliefs, which is irrelevant. Evidence is also not admissible to show that A was a drug supplier since they were all impliedly asserting that he was a drug dealer (hearsay)

Minority – the calls and visits were circumstantial evidence showing that A established a a market for the supply of drugs


Small quantity of drugs found in A’s house – insufficient to charge him with trafficking

The Police remained on premises for several hours for the purposes of securing more evidence: o

Answered numerous telephone calls from callers asking for “Chippie” (A’s nickname) to supply “the usual”;


Visitors also came to the house asking for Chippie to sell them drugs


These callers and visitors were not called to testify, but the officers gave evidence of their conversations with the callers and visitors to show that A was a supplier of drugs, and therefore guilty of traffickings


Issue: Did the statements carry an implied assertion that K was a supplier?


Lord Bridge: first question is whether the fact that the request for drugs was made is in itself relevant to the issue of whether A was a supplier o

The fact that words were spoken may be relevant if they reveal the state of mind of either the speaker or the person to whom the words were spoken, if the state of mind is in issue or relevant to a matter in issue §

On facts à whether people think he’s a supplier is not relevant to whether he’s a supplier


Sole possible relevance of the words spoken is because they impliedly assert that A is a supplier. If the speakers had expressly said on the phone that Chippie supplies his drugs, this would clearly be hearsay


Question is whether the words impliedly asserting a relevant fact can be admissible à cited Wright v Doe d Tatham, Blastland, it’s a clear ‘no’, evidence of words spoken by a person not called as a witness which









inadmissible as hearsay just as evidence of an express statement made by the speaker asserting the same fact would be o

Next question is whether, if evidence that the officer heard one person request drugs from A is inadmissible as HSE, is the evidence admissible if P tenders evidence relating to the plurality of such requests made at the same place and on the same day? §

The proposition is without authority – while the probative value of a plurality of requests is high, it is clear that the probative force of the HSE in particular circumstances has never afforded a ground for disregarding the HSR à strict application


While Bridge appreciated the arguments in favour of limiting the operation of the HSR for implied assertions, he was of the opinion that 14

any change should come from Parliament, and not from the courts •

“However long overdue we may feel an overhaul of the hearsay rule in criminal cases to be, we should not be deluded into thinking that we can achieve it piecemeal”

Lord Ackner: Each of the requests for drugs was evidence of the state of mind of the person making the request à but this is irrelevant and therefore inadmissible o

Argeed that this is an implied assertion – the object of tendering the evidence would be to establish the truth of what is contained in the statement by way of necessary implication, which is precisely what the rule prohibits


Agreed that any relaxation of the HSR’s application must be achieved via legislation

Lord Oliver: Each request for drugs is probative of the state of mind of the caller o

But this is not a fact in issue à irrelevant/inadmissible


Evidence only probative of fact in issue (Df’s intention) with regards to: §

The fact that the callers asked for “the usual” – by necessary implication, this is a statement that A has supplied drugs to these callers in the past; - hearsay


Calls/visits import the belief or opinion that A was willing and able to supply them with drugs – if, at trial P wanted to adduce evidence from a witness that he believed the drugs would be supplied (c/f evidence that the drugs were supplied) its inadmissible because it’s a mere statement of opinion that’s unsupported •

A fortiori, same inadmissible belief cannot be inferred from a reported statement


Agreed that the multiplicity of calls did not make the evidence admissible – this would go to weight & reliability, and not admissibility

Minority: Lord Brown-Wilkinson

Evidence should be admissible on the basis that there was such a large number of callers and visitors that it gave rise to a clear inference that A set up a drug market accessible to the public → no longer hearsay evidence, it was circumstantial evidence at this point

As pointed out by HHL, the problem is that ‘circumstantial evidence’ is really a conclusion rather than an argument – where should be draw the line of when the number of callers can establish a “market’? If there isn’t so many, is it still safe to draw the inference?



Significantly, Kearley isn’t even the law in the UK


Per s 115(3) whether an implied assertion is admissible depends on its purpose

Implied Assertion by Conduct – should application of the HSR extend to include implied assertions by conduct?

UK Position

Implied assertions by conduct are inadmissible – like cases of implied assertion by statement, the assertion cannot be challenged in court

However, there are no cases that have actually considered implied assertions by conduct, we only have the examples given by Parke B in Doe d Tatham 15


Defined as evidence “with reference to the matter in issue in each case (and are) mere instances of hearsay evidence, mere statements, not on oath, but implied in or vouched by the actual conduct of persons by whose acts the litigant parties are not to be bound”


Examples: §

The supposed conduct of the family or relations of a testator, taking the same precautions in his absence as if he were a lunatic;


His election, in his absence, to some high and responsible office;


The conduct of a physician who permitted a will to be executed by a sick testator;


The conduct of a deceased captain on a question of seaworthiness, who, after examining every part of the vessel, embarked in it with his family;

Rupert Cross argued that a distinction should be drawn between implied assertions in statements and by conduct – implied assertions by conduct are arguably more reliable that those made by statement, as this follows a conventional understanding that “deeds speak louder than words” o

Would a Captain take his family on a ship if he wasn’t sure that it was seaworthy?


Although Pinsler says this depends on the circumstances of the case – could be that the Captain was searching for stowaways rather than checking up on the seaworthiness. The reliability of an implied assertion is therefore not always guaranteed considering the intention and the perception of the maker cannot be verified

SG Position

[1] The EA doesn’t distinguish between express and implied assertions in statements. The general consensus is that despite the absence of an expressly defined rule against hearsay in the EA, the common law exclusionary rule should apply independently or through s 62 of the EA

[2] However, since s 17 – 40 which set out the exceptions to the HSR make no reference to implied assertions, it is arguable that there was no need to have an explicit EA provision admitting implied assertions because implied assertions by statement are not intended to be hearsay at all. o

Sensible position – an implied assertion is normally unintended, so the dangers of deception and concoction are lower; §

Furthermore, since Singapore has abolished the jury trial system, it is arguable that judges are well-equipped to draw their own inferences on the basis of the circumstances in which the assertion was made


In any case, the court reserves the statutory discretion to exclude relevant HSE where it is just to do so. Hence, the danger of unjustly prejudicial evidence not being excluded is less pronounced.

[3] However – the newly amended s 32A, which sets out an exception to the HSR, arguably does cover implied assertions by oral statement o

A statement not intended to convey the fact that the court is asked to believe (not an express assertion) and which does not directly state the fact but suggest it by necessary implication (an implied assertion) should fall within s 32 by virtue of s 32A, which equates any “protest, greeting, or other verbal utterance” implying “any fact”, with a statement of such a fact


By the same logic, there is no need to define implied assertions of a verbal statement as being admissible under the exception if it were not already assumed that such evidence constituted HSE under the HSR implicitly acknowledged by the EA


However, the position seems to be different for implied assertions by conduct (not a “protest, greeting, or other verbal utterance”) which is not covered by s 32A – Chinty


argues that the Legislature quite clearly intended that implied assertions by conduct are not caught by the HSR in the first place §

Also makes sense – risk of concoction even lower since the author probably did not intend to convey the fact that the statement is relied upon to prove since no representation of the fact was intended at all


From a policy point of view as well – if HSR is extended to implied assertions by conduct, it would be extraordinarily wide since arguably any evidence that describes what other people are doing would be caught under the hearsay rule

v •

Negative Hearsay

Negative assertions are situations in which the absence of anything stated may amount to an assertion (Patel) o

This arises in situations where there are omissions in the records, and there is a school of thought that feels that negative hearsay should be treated more leniently because:



Its in a record;


Its harder for someone to prove a negative than a positive

On the other hand the argument (as put forth by Roberts & Zuckerman) is that negative assertions should be inadmissible because an inference from the absence of an entry presupposes that the record is complete, correct, and reliable – that the record is not lying when it is silent. Therefore when the author of the record is not called as witness, the inference must run through an assumption, wholly unsubstantiated in evidence, that accurate and complete entries have been made with each entry in the record

Arguably, the SG position is that negative hearsay is inadmissible at court o

The newly amended s 32, which sets out an exception to the HSR, arguably covers negative assertions, as the adducing evidence of an absence of any information about a fact in circumstances where, if the fact were true, some information or record would ordinarily be present, is tantamount to an express statement that the fact is untrue or did not occur, and must be treated alike. A negative assertion therefore should qualify as a “statement of relevant fact” under s 32 §

This view is also consistent with the proposition that the application of the hearsay rule is dependent on the purpose for which the evidence is sought to be tendered


While the common law cases of Patel and Shone accept that negative hearsay is admissible if “an officer responsible for… compilation and custody [of the records were] called to give evidence of the method of compilation” (at 96) §

However, in Singapore, negative hearsay falling under s 32 should only be admissible if it satisfies a limb of s 32, even if a witness called is familiar with compilation method.


Therefore, even if there’s a witness willing to testify à the evidence is hearsay and is prima facie inadmissible

R v Patel [1981] 1 All ER 94 (CA) Facts

A was charged with assisting the illegal entry of Ashraf into the UK

P called an immigration officer to give evidence that Ashraf’s name was not in the Home Office’s immigration records of legal entrants



Bristow J: CoA held that the officer’s evidence & immigration records were inadmissible, unless the officer who compiled and had custody of the records testified as to their effect

The records “cannot therefore speak for themselves in criminal proceedings”, and an officer responsible for their compilation and custody should have been called to give evidence that the method of compilation & custody is such that if Ashraf’s name is not there, he must be an illegal entrant”

R v Shone (1983) 76 Cr App Rep 72 (CA) Facts

A was charged with received stolen car springs

The stock clerk & manager testified that: o

The stock records reflected receipt of the springs;


There was no indication in the records that the springs were sold or otherwise disposed of


Leonard J: This evidence was not hearsay, and admissible o

The clerk & the manager were entitled to explain the significance of the absence of entries on the card


This was direct evidence on the basis of which the jury was wntitled to conclude that the springs were stolen

However, both cases merely focus on the guarantee of the reliability of the record, and do not actually address the issue of whether a negative assertion is hearsay

David Chua v DBS Bank [2015] 5 SLR 231 – SG interpreting Shone Facts

Pf opened a fixed deposit account with Df bank and received a fixed deposit receipt

2 months later – opened another fixed deposit account and received another receipt o

Put both these receipts in a safe deposit box also maintained by Df


In 2012 – retrieved the receipts and asked Df to confirm the amount due to him under each receipt, but Df was unable to find any trace in one of the account on the bank’s records


Bank’s argument was that the account was closed in or before 1985 – it had no direct evidence of, so Df relied on the lack of any trace of the account on its records, and on Pf’s own conduct over the years as circumstantial evidence that the account had been closed.


Evidence was admitted pursuant to s 171 of the EA – mode of proof of entries for bankers’ books o

However, the probative strength of the negative hearsay is determined by whether the party relying on the negative hearsay can show that “its systems and procedures for keeping those records sufficiently rigorous & robust

Probative value of negative hearsay generally higher in industries such as banking, 18

owing to the rigour & robustness of their record keeping systems

B. Other Ways of Circumventing the Hearsay Rule

v •

Circumstantial Evidence

Lord Brown-Wilkinson in Kearley o

The fact that many callers and visitors believed that K was a drug supplier is not hearsay because there was such a large number of callers and visitors that it gave rise to a clear inference that A set up a drug market accessible to the public → no longer hearsay evidence, it was circumstantial evidence at this point

Ratten o

The fact that V made a phone call requesting for the police is not hearsay because it is used to show that the wife was in a state of fear, which is relevant to rebut the defence that shooting was accidental

R v Ratten [1972] AC 378 (PC) – Statement revealed state of mind; not hearsay Facts

A was convicted for the murder of his wife, but his defence was that the gen had discharged accidentally while he was cleaning it

To rebut that defence, P called evidence from a telephone operator testified that she had received a telephone call 3 minutes before the shooting from A’s house, and a female voice answered, was hysterical and sobbing, and said ‘get me the police’


Was the operator’s evidence hearsay

PC held that: o

Evidence of the operator was circumstantial evidence from which the inference of relevant facts can be drawn. The evidence adduced to show V’s mental state is relevant as showing that V was in a mental state of fear rebuts A’s defence that the shooting was an accident;

o •

Even if the evidence was hearsay, it was admissible as res gestae

Court’s finding that the operator’s statement was mere circumstantial evidence and therefore was not hearsay can be criticised o

Reasoning was that the court is not interested in any assertion made by the woman as to why she was frightened, but only interested in knowing she was afraid


However: §

Can an inference that she was frightened really be drawn if we don’t look at her words at all?


Inference that she was scared of husband could not be drawn from the call alone – no evidence establishing husband’s identity at all


In fact, court arguably hesitant in concluding this isn’t HSE à also looked at the reasoning of res gestae


R v Lydon (1987) 87 Cr App R 221 (CoA) Facts

A, one Sean Michael Lydon, was convicted of robbery – raised the defence of alibi o

About one mile from the scene of the robbery, there was a gun and two pieces of rolled paper on which someone had written ‘Sean rules’ and ‘Sean rules 85’


Ink of similar appearance & composition to that on the paper was found on the gun barrel


CoA held that evidence relating to the paper was properly admitted as circumstantial evidence o

References were not hearsay because they involved no assertion as to the truth of the contents of the paper – not tended to show that Sean ‘ruled’ anything

v •

Real Evidence

Real evidence concerns tangible objects produced before the court for direct perception by the trier of fact o

While HSE comes in the form of assertions tended to prove facts which they refer to, real evidence is ex hypothesi not hearsay because the judge draws the inference directly


Issue: does the evidence assert the fact it is tended to prove (HSE) or can the trier of fact draw the inference directly? R v Rice [1963] 1 QB 857 (CCA Facts

A was charged with the conspiracy to commit fraud with several persons, including M

P’s case turned on whether A took a plane from London to Manchester with another conspirator – P wanted to adduce evidence that a used ticket found in a repository of tickets used for that flight showed A’s and M’s names


Winn J: Not hearsay o

The ticket was admissible as circumstantial evidence from which the jury may draw from it, including the fact that A was on the flight


“The relevance of that ticket in logic and its legal admissibility as a piece of real evidence both stem from the same root, viz, the balance of probability recognised by common sense and common knowledge that an air ticket which has been used on a flight and which has a name upon it has more likely than not been used by a man of that name”

Problem with this case is that it relies on a statement contained in the ticket (the name, date and the destination) of relevant facts (whether A flew to Manchester on the day in question), and the ticket would only be real evidence if the ticket itself, and not the assertions contained in it, were relevant à e.g. if the issue was the age, condition, size or nature of the 20

tickets, it would be real evidence, because the court could observe the ticket and draw these inferences without relying on the contents of the ticket o •

Appears to be an implied assertion

However, Dennis argues that since the airline’s practice of collecting used tickets in a file was established, it would be legitimate to conclude that the name of the ticket was most likely to be the name of someone who used it. The background generalization that underpins this conclusion is that things bearing marks of identification that are found in certain places are likely to have been in the physical control of a person with that identity who took them there o

There is a difference between using a document for a hearsay purpose, and using a document as a thing for the purpose of identifying a particular person at a particular place and time

Pinsler: Rice specifically is a tough case because the inferences which can be drawn from the circumstances coincide with the details on the ticket itself o

Essentially, the court’s argument is that the ticket isn’t being relied upon for its substantive assertion, but as a document simply bearing a particular name which in the circumstances, entitles the trier of fact to draw the necessary inferences


As per Winn LJ: the balance of probability recognised by common sense and common knowledge that an air ticket which has been used on a flight and which has a name on it has more likely than not been used by the person of that name

In SG, this is under s 32(1)(b) of the EA concerning statements in the course of trade, business, profession or other occupation

PP v Ang Soon Huat [1991] 1 MLJ 1 (HC) Facts

A was charged with trafficking heroin.

P needed to prove that the quantum was more than 15 grams, and adduced computer printouts of the results of chromatograph and spectrogram tests


Computer printouts of results of scientific testing was admissible as real evidence

The court drew a distinction between the situation in which the computer printouts are “nothing more than a regurgitation of information fed in” and tendered without any accompanying oral evidence à would constitute hearsay o

C/f situation where the computer not only records but also processes & calculates info fed into it, and there is accompanying oral evidence to confirm these matters à printouts would constitute real evidence


v •

Photofits & Police Sketches

Whether photofits or police sketches constitute hearsay evidence is unclear in Singapore. The English common law does not treat photofits or police sketches as hearsay evidence (R v Percy Smith, R v Cook), and likens them to photographs (R v Cook)

However, the better view is that such evidence constitutes hearsay because it is an assertion by the police artist of a relevant fact – A’s identity – which was perceived by the witness, and not the police artist o

Pinsler agrees, and argued that a photograph, unlike a sketch or a photofit, does not involve human assertion. A photograph is real evidence in a true sense because the court is invited to observe it, and then draw the necessary inferences, and the reliability of the camera can be established by evidence


However, given the lack of local jurisdiction on this point, assuming that the sketch and photofit does not contravene the hearsay rule, such evidence may be admissible under s 9 as being relevant to show identity R v Percy Smith [1976] Crim LR 511 – police sketch is not hearsay Facts

A sketch of A had been made by a police officer in accordance with the description of him that was provided by a young girl, who had seen him near the scene of the crime


D objected to the sketch on the basis of hearsay

Police sketch was not HSE à it was the assertion of the witness, who used her memory to direct the sketching of the hand of the officer

No need to rely on any conversation between witness & officer to link her to the sketch – its effectively a statement made by her, the person who perceived A

R v Cook [1987] QB 417– photofit is not hearsay Facts

V of robbery and indecent assault described her attacker to a police officer, who pieced together a photofit picture from her description

At trial, D submitted that a photofit is not a photograph, and is no more than an assertion by the officer of a relevant fact – the identity of the robber – which he did not perceive, and should be inadmissible as evidence of hearsay


Likened the photofit to a photograph – both are manifestations of the seeing eye, translated onto paper through the medium of the officer’s drawing skill. The officer is merely doing what the witness could do if she possessed the requisite skill o

When he is drawing, he is akin to a camera, albeit without the clarity of a photograph which a camera automatically produces


However, since photographs are automatically not subject to hearsay, photofits are similarly not subject to the HSR 22


The human world, it’s a mess – but, the Chinty approach should be used:

[1] Does the statement constitute hearsay under the common law exclusionary rule?


What are the facts that the statement is tendered to prove?


Does it have relevance as non-hearsay evidence?

[2] Is the statement admissible via any exceptions under the statute

Para •

As a preliminary issue, there is some contention regarding the basis for the hearsay rule in Singapore. As per Rajah JA in Lee Chez Kee at [75], for the common law hearsay rule to exist “within or independently” of the EA would be inconsistent with the EA, which renders admissible evidence that, in common law would be treated as hearsay, so long as it is ‘legally relevant’ under s 32 or any other provision. Strictly speaking, common law rules inconsistent with the provisions of the EA should be repealed. This casts doubt over Soon Peck Wah, which imported the common law hearsay rule on the basis of s 62.

However, it is submitted that this is not a significant issue considering Rajah JA in Lee Chez Kee also conceded that “both the common law & the EA ways of identifying hearsay will always nearly provide the same result” (at [?]), and that “no injustice has been caused by the different approaches” (at [?]). Furthermore, Lee Chez Kee also failed to provide any solutions to reconcile the EA with the common law exclusionary rule.

Additionally, given the number of local decisions adopting the common law exclusionary rule (PP v Subramaniam, Soon Peck Wah, Saga Foodstuff), it is submitted that courts should still take the common law rule into consideration and enter into analysis with regards to whether the statement adduced is hearsay, despite Lee Chez Kee being principally correct that a fact should be prima facie admissible once it satisfies s 6 – 16.

On application of a hybrid approach that combines both common law and statute, this analysis will consider (1) whether the evidence in question is hearsay evidence per the common law hearsay rule, and (2) if so, whether th evidence should nevertheless be admissible under s 32 of the EA

A. Preliminary Issues

v •


On the facts of the case, the evidence of _______ is a case of multiple hearsay, as the fact was perceived by ___, and communicated from ___ to ____.

While the wording of s 32(1)(_) appears to only cover first-hand hearsay, s 32(1)(b) provides that multiple hearsay is permitted with regards to statements made in the course of trade, business, profession or other occupation. o

The exception includes “a statement made in a document that is, or forms part of, a record compiled by a person acting in the ordinary course of trade, business, profession or other occupation based on information supplied by other persons”, which indicates that the compiler of the record could be different from the supplier of the information, and that the information can be supplied by “other persons”

However, the 2012 amendments did not include a general provision as to whether multiple hearsay would be acceptable in relation to the other hearsay exceptions. 23


In Hearsay Reforms: Simplicity in Statute, Pragmatism in Practice?, Associate Professor Chin Tet Yung suggests that the fact that there is no special provision for multiple hearsay could suggest that it may be regarded as a matter of weight rather than admissibility §

It is submitted that such a reading of the EA would be logically sound considering judges are arguably well-equipped to draw their own inferences on the basis of the circumstances in which the assertion was made and conveyed to the final supplier of the evidence.


In any case, the court reserves the statutory discretion to exclude relevant HSE under s 32(3) where it is just to do so. Hence, the danger of unjustly prejudicial evidence not being excluded is less pronounced.

v •

Logically relevant

Under s 32(1), the statements must contain logically relevant facts to be admissible

B. S 32(1)(a) – Dying Declarations

Section 32(1)(a) provides that 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. •

S 32(1)(a) is much wider than its common law equivalent, which was only applicable for murder charges, and had to be made with a settled, hopeless expectation of death before the statement could be admissible (Bedingfield)

Per common law, the dying declaration must be sufficiently related to W’s death, and therefore a mere expression of fear & suspicion are not within the scope of the section (Pakala Narayana Swami) o

The shorter the time span between the statement and the facts contained in the statement, the closer the connection between the statement and the circumstances of the transaction (Yeo Hock Cheng)


Yeo Hock Cheng was a case where V told her father 9 days before her murder that A had threatened to kill her if she told her father that they had slept together. Due to the lapse of 9 days and the fact that in the intervening period, the relationship between her and A had apparently improved because he had promised to marry her, the statement was held to be too remote to be admitted


However – a statement that V made to her sister on the day of the murder that she was going to meet A and that he told her to dress like a man was admissible under this provision

Generally, the court would require proof of the exact words uttered by V, especially if there is a written record of his statement (Toh Lai Heng – police officer recoding a dying declaration in his own words – inadmissible) o

However, if the witness had no opportunity to record the statement in writing but is able to recall substantially what was said, he may be permitted to relate those words (Ong Her Hock)

The usefulness of s 32(1)(a) is much limited with the enactment of s 32(1)(j), and this substantial overlap between the provisions was conceded by Minister for Law K Shanmugam in the Second Reading of the Evidence (Amendment) Bill. However, s 32(1)(a) was still retained because there is a substantial body of case law under this provision, and it would be lost if the provision was deleted. 24

C. S 32(1)(b) – Ordinary Course of Trade, Business, Profession, or other Occupation •

The rationale of this provision is that business records are admissible as evidence because they are prima facie reliable. This is because such records are likely to be accurate since they are compiled by persons who are “disinterested” (Thomas LJ in Horncastle), and compiled with regularity.

Section 32(1)(b) provides that when the statement was made by a person in the ordinary course of trade, business, profession or other occupation and in particular when it consists of – (i) any entry or memorandum in books kept in the ordinary course of a trade, business, profession or other occupation or in the discharge of professional duty; (ii) an acknowledgement (whether written or signed) for the receipt of money, goods, securities or property of any kind; (iii) any information in market quotations, tabulations, lists, directories or other compilations generally used generally used and relied upon by the public or by persons in particular occupations; or (iv) a document constituting, or forming part of, the records (whether past or present) of a trade, business, profession or other occupation that are recorded, owned or kept by any person, body or organisation carrying out the trade, business, profession or other occupation, and includes a statement made in a document that is, or forms part of, a record compiled by a person acting in the ordinary course of a trade, business, profession, or other occupation based on information supplied by other persons;

S 32(1)(b) should apply whether the statement is written or oral or otherwise – per Press Automaton, a case under the old s 32(b), a surveyor’s verbal inspection report was admitted as it was made in the ordinary course of business


Evaluation of the new s 32(b)


The scope of the exception has expanded significantly – o

Title of the old s 32(1)(b) was amended from ‘made in the course of business’ to encompass statements ‘made in the course of trade, business, profession, or other occupation’


While the exception was previously restricted to just s 32(b)(i) & (ii), s 32(b)(iii) & (iv) have since been added


Chinty argues that increasing the scope of the exception to capture ‘the gamut of commercial & professional activities is justified given the diversity of organisations in modern society’

Provides for multiple hearsay for business records o

See above


This removes the limitations under the old law set out in Vaynar Suppiah & Sons, which held that the old s 32(b) only applied to reports made in the course of business which were prepared first-hand by a person with knowledge of the truth of the contents of the report


However, the absence of an express requirement under s 32(b) that the compiler & the persons who supplied the information included in the business record must have personal knowledge of the information means that multiple hearsay to an unlimited degree may be admitted – s 32(3)



The precise ambit of the provision is unclear regarding whether the provision expands to noncommercial occupations o

While s 117(2) of the UK Criminal Justice Act 2003 contains the additional phrase ‘or as the holder of a paid or unpaid office’, s 32(1)(b) does not, and applying the interpretation canon of ejusdem generis to the section, ‘trade, business, profession, or other occupation’ arguably only includes commercial activities


Logically speaking, it can be argued that while professionals in commercial firms keep proper records and are likely to be acting under a legal or professional duty to do so and have no motive to falsify facts or opinions contained in the documents, records kept in non-commercial organisations are likely of a lower degree of reliability §

E.g. Grassroots organisations, charities


Crucially – in the case of police records, is there a motive or unconscious bias to falsify records? •

Would police records allow unreliable hearsay evidence to be inadmissible – per the case of Teper, would the evidence that the woman said “your place is burning and you going away from the fire” be admissible if the officer in question had written the statement down as a record made in the course of occupation?

Arguably, no – too unreliable

In fact, this approach is arguably better – instead of a strict rule, you have a broader exception + discretion

Not clear whether the provision is restricted to only documentary hearsay o

Chinty argues that the tenor of the provision suggests that the exception only covers documentary statements since all the particular statemenst referred to in the provisions are examples of documents rather than oral statements. Hence, the provision should be read ejusdem generis and limited to documentary hearsay


However, old case law says otherwise – see above

C. S 32(1)(c) – Declaration Against Interes

Section 32(1)(c) provides that 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. •

Firstly, it must be shown that the declarant’s statement is against his pecuniary or proprietary interests, or that what he says, if true, would expose him to criminal prosecution or to a suit for damages (Sintra Merchants) o

Sintra Merchants was a case where HC found the witness’ affidiavit to admissible under this provision, as there was nothing that could be considered against his pecuniary/proprietary interest/exposed him to any dire consequences from anyone

Secondly, it must be shown that the declarant was conscious that what he said was against his own interest (Velstra) o

Velstra – no evidence that declarant realised that he was, in making the statements, opening himself up to civil and criminal liability 26

D. S 32(1)(d) Statement concerning a public right, custom, or matter of public or general interest •

E.g. If the issue is whether there is a public right of way over certain land, can adduce statement to this effect

E.g. Books admitted to prove opinions of deceased authors on old marriage customs in China (Wong Kai Woon)

No longer need to prove that the maker of the statement is available

E. S 32(1)(e) Statement concerning relationship •

Statement of a relevant fact is admissible when it relates to the existence of ‘any r/s by blood, marriage, or adoption’, as long as certain conditions are satisfied

Conditions: o

Maker of statement must have some ‘special means of knowledge’;


Statement was made before the dispute arose


No longer need to prove that the maker of the statement is available

F. S 32(1)(f) Statement concerning relationship between persons who are now deceased •

Essentially s 32(1)(e) with a more confined scope of deceased persons o

Both concern r/s by blood, marriage, or adoption


Both must be made before the dispute arose

However: o

(f) is concerned with formal or official statements – no need for special means of knowledge


Limited to statements in a will or deed or ‘family pedigree or upon any tombstone, family portrait or other thing on which such statements are usually made’


And must be concerned with relationship between two dead persons

G. S 32(1)(g) Statement of right or custom pursuant to s 13(a) •

S 13(a) provides that where there is a question as to the existence of any right or custom, any transaction by which the right or custom was created, claimed, modified, recognised, asserted or denied or which was inconsistent with its existence is relevant o

E.g. documents proving that the land has been mortgaged to the bank

H. S 32(1)(h) – Declaration of Feelings •

S 32(1)(h) declares relevant statements of fact made by a number of persons expressing feelings or impressions on their part relevant to the matter in question

However, there is uncertainty regarding the scope of the provision – HHL thinks its just for the results of surveys o

Does the provision contemplate a minimum number of persons?


Do all the statements need to be made at or about the same time?


Do all the persons who made the statements have to be identified?


Do all of them have to be unable to attend court? 27

However, Pinsler says that this section likely excludes circumstances where the situation would allow for reasoned reflection and the opportunity for concoction & distortion

Per the case of Saga Foodstuffs, this section codifies the common law exception of res gestae, which allows the admission of what persons who are not called as witnesses said in reaction to an event or thing, as it presented itself to them in circumstances which exclude the opportunity of reasoned reflection and the possibility of concoction, to prove the truth of what was stated o

Saga Foodstuffs is a trademark case, where results of a market survery research was admitted to establish the level of awareness of the Pf’s get-up and the degree of confusion between the Pf’s and Df’s get-ups under s 5, because the results were tendered for the purposes of showing the extent to which certain beliefs or opinions were held by the public (circumstantial evidence), and not to prove the truth or the validity of the opinions in question à did not even offend the hearsay rule

I. S 32(1)(i) Compelling witnesses who refuse to testify •

Admits a statement which is made by ‘a person who, being compellable to give evidence on behalf of the party desiring to give the statement in evidence, attends or is brought before the court, or refuses to be sworn or affirmed, or is sworn or affirmed but refuses to give any evidence’

All witnesses in Singapore who are competent are generally compellable under s 120 (with the exception of the Co-Accused, under s 122(2))

Two possible scenarios: -


Compellable witness who refuses to be sworn;


Compellable witness who is sworn & affirmed, but then refuses to testify.

Operative idea is that the statement replaces the testimony the declarant would have otherwise had given, had he been willing. Therefore this provision doesn’t cover potential witnesses who are out of jurisdiction and aren’t willing to return to SG to testify

Rationale - when a witness refuses to testify, his previous statement is the best available evidence

v •

S 147(3) – (5)

S 147(3) – (5) is used to supplement s 32(1)(i), which is primarily used for when the witness stays silent o

C/f s 147(3), where a witness is xxed on his prior inconsistent statements (which is technically hearsay), those statements are admissible as evidence of the facts stated


S 147(4) & (5) also create another route for admission of previous statements to ‘refresh’ the witness’ memories through their earlier statements

J. S 32(1)(j)(i)-(iv) Person Unavailable as Witness •

Admits a statement if witness is unavailable due to: o

(i) Witness dead/unfit because of his bodily or mental condition to attend as witness;


(ii) Despite reasonable efforts to locate him, he cannot be found whether within or outside Singapore;


(iii) He is outside Singapore and it is not practicable to secure his attendance;


(iv) Despite being competent but not compellable to give evidence on behalf of the party desiring to give the statement in evidence, he refuses to do so

Different from other provisions 28


Does not depend on specific factual scenario;


Underlying principle is that the witness’ statement is the best evidence in the face of his unavailability

o •

Unlike (i), need strict proof of unavailability

Problem is that (j) is the broadest exception – only thing you have to prove is unavailability of the maker of the statement as a witness o

If you can prove that, then any statement is a relevant fact


Is there an absence of safeguards? §

In Lee Chez Kee, A was charged with murder, Prosecution adduced confession of an accomplice which incriminated as the accomplice had been put to death prior to A’s trial


Pinsler says it possible that under the current s 32(1)(j), this statement would be admissible since the accomplice was dead, and the provision doesn’t include the words ‘subject to the rules of law governing the admissibility of confessions’

S 32(1)(j)(i) o

Considered a much more straightforward route of admitting a dead person’s statement than s 32(1)(a), which requires proof that the statement is sufficiently related to A’s death

S 32(1)(j)(ii)

Per Teo Wai Cheong, subsection (ii) requires reasonable efforts, and the words ‘cannot be found’ imports a requirement that the party seeking to rely on it must be able to show that he acted ‘with due diligence in attempting to find the witness’ ([29]-[31]). o

Therefore, the party seeking to find the witness would ordinarily be expected to communicate with the other side for the purpose of discovering the possible location of the witness, steps taken to find him, and to invite any comments or suggestions from that party (at [32])


Pinsler’s suggested factors for determining whether the party seeking to adduce the evidence had made reasonable efforts in finding the witness: §

The ease or difficulty in locating the person (including any potential delay which could have an impact on the timing of the trial);



The significance of the evidence to the party;


The expense & other resources involved in making the necessary arrangements; and


The party’s ability to take such measures

Chinty in Hearsay Reforms suggested that in criminal cases, considering the possibility of conviction, there arguably should be more rigorous measures taken to secure the availability of a witness at trial. Since A faces a charge that would involve the loss of liberty or property or reputation, it is difficult to justify a balancing test between costs and the nature of the offence

S 32(1)(j)(iii)

Overlaps with j(ii)

Subsection requires impracticability in securing the witness’ attendance; requires evidence that reasonable steps were taken by the party concerned to persuade the maker of the statement to testify at trial (Pacific Marine at [42]) o

Under this subsection, the party seeking to adduce the evidence must meet two cumulative requirements: §

[1] Witness outside SG 29

§ o

[2] Not reasonably practicable to secure his attendance

Per Gimpex’s citation of Cross and Tapper on Evidence at [99], in assessing reasonable practicality, the court is impliedly assessing the likely effectiveness of taking normal steps to secure the attendance of the witness, and taking into consideration factors such as



The importance of the evidence;


The degree of prejudice to the defence if the evidence is admitted;


The expense & inconvenience involved in securing attendance.

In summary, the second requirement involves a determination of whether the costs of securing the attendance of the maker of the statement will be proportionate to the amount of the claim, and the significance of the evidence (Society Des Produits)


If maker’s evidence could have been arranged through live video-link, this may also be taken into account (Society Des Produits, Wan Lai Ting)

Gimpex was a case where Df wanted to rely on a report to show that the coal delivered was of satisfactory quality, and appealed against the TJ’s decision to refuse admission of the report on the basis it was HSE. One of the arguments put forth by the Df was that the report was admissible under s 32(1)(j)(iii) since the report was prepared by witnesses who were not in Singapore, and it was impracticable to secure their attendance at trial. However, Df had failed to satisfy the second requirement of (iii) à that it was ‘not practicable to secure attendance’ of the witnesses, as they had failed to adduce any evidence of how the compilers of the report were previously contacted, and what efforts have been made to contact them (at [101]) §

However, while the report was not admissible under s 32(1)(j)(iii), it was admissible under s 32(1)(b)(iv) because non-availability of the witness could be proven, even if it could not be proven that it would be impractical to secure attendance

S 32(1)(j)(iv)

Concerns the statement of a competent but non-compellable witness o

This only applies to the accused (either for himself or for co-A) §

Per s 122(3), A is competent to give evidence on behalf of himself and any person jointly charged with him, but shall not be compellable to do so

K. •

S 32(1)(k) – Admissions of Hearsay Evidence by Agreement

If parties agree, hearsay evidence is admissible o

Safeguard – under s 32(6), if A is unrepresented, he cannot make such an agreement unless at the time the agreement is made, A or any of the Co-A is represented by an advocate §

Additionally, the provision does not provide that the agreement has to be made with counsel, and the previous safeguard provided under the CPC that an agreement cannot be made without counsel has been removed


Arguably, this means that an unrepresented A can be bound by his agreement as long as one Co-A is represented.


Chinty argues that such a literal interpretation of the provision is contrary to the spirit & intent of the exception – if an agreement cannot be valid in the case of one represented A, it should not be valid in they case of any unrepresented A. Arguing otherwise would be against the very idea of legal representation and the adversarial trial


Additionally: the accused persons’ interests may not coincide, and it would be very damaging to A because co-A’s counsel may not intervene if the admission of the statement is in Co-A’s advantage, even if it severely prejudices A. In such a situation, would s 32(3) discretion exclude the evidence?


The section does not specify what constitutes ‘agreement’ for the purposes of the section – would a mere lack of objection at trial to the admission of the HSE sufficiently amount to an implied agreement?

IMPT: courts do not have the power to create exceptions to the hearsay rule beyond the scope of the EA at (Goldrich Venture at [129])


The two main justifications for the HSR are as follow: o

(1) Inability of the tribunal of fact to weigh & assess HSE propery without the usual tests & safeguards of reliability – oath, xx, the opportunity to assess the witness’ demeanour;

o •

(2) Admission of HSE is antithetical to the notion of confronting your accuser

Hence, s 32 contains provisions that act as safeguards against two main concerns of the HSR: o

(1) S 32(3) acts as a safeguard against the unreliability of the HSE by allowing the judge to exclude evidence in the interests of justice;


(2) S 32(4) acts as a safeguard against not knowing your accuser by requiring the party who intends to rely on HSE to give advance notice of his intent to rely on HSE §

The notice must include the name of the maker of the statement & his address, if applicable

A. S 32(2) Oral Statements Reduced to Writing

2) For the purposes of paragraph (a), (c), (d), (e), (f), (g), (h), (i) or (j) of subsection (1), where a person [1] makes an oral statement to or in the hearing of another person who, [2] at the request of the maker of the statement, puts it (or the substance of it) [3] into writing [4] at the time or reasonably soon afterwards, thereby producing a corresponding statement in a document, the statement in the document shall be treated for the purposes of those paragraphs as the statement of the maker of the oral statement. •

Requirements o

[1] Person makes an oral statement to or in the hearing of another person who


[2] At the request of the maker of the statement,


[3] Puts it (or the substance of it) into writing


[4] At the time or reasonably soon afterwards, thereby producing a corresponding statement in a document

Effects o

When the statement is adduced as evidence, the statement is not taken to be made by the writer who reduced the statement into writing, but by the supplier of the information


S 32(2) originated from the draft Bill of the Criminal Law Revision 11th Report on Evidence (1972), and was intended to be a clarificatory section that appeared to allow multiple hearsay only in documentary evidence, and required all oral evidence to be at least firsthand hearsay 31

Rationale o

As the person converting the oral statement into writing does so at the request of the maker, he is effectively acting as a conduit or channel for the original information. As such, the statement that is written down is effectively the supplier of the information’s statement. §

Without this section – the writing is arguably second hand (multiple) hearsay, as the author’s statement is being repeated by another person in a document adduced to prove the truth of its contents

To date, no cases have been brought under this section since its introduction in 1976

B. S 32(3) – Discretion to Exclude in the Interests of Justice

(3) A statement which is otherwise relevant under subsection (1) shall not be relevant if the court is of the view that it would not be in the interests of justice to treat it as relevant •

Under s 32(3), Singapore is adopting an exclusionary rather than inclusionary discretion.

Per Gimpex, s 32(3) does not distinguish between criminal and civil proceedings. However, from a practical point of view, given the availability of pre-trial conferences, discovery, and other pre-trial devices in civil cases, it is unlikely that there will be many cases where it will be necessary to exercise this discretion for civil cases.

As set out by Minister of Law Shanmugam during the Second Reading of the Evidence (Amendment) Bill, the residual discretion under s 32(3) ensures that the expanded exceptions under s 32(1) are not abused. This discretion is distinct from, and in addition to the court’s inherent jurisdiction to exclude evidence on the basis that its prejudicial effect overwhelms its probative effect


Under s 32(3), a court has the discretion to exclude hearsay evidence ‘in the interests of justice’ o

As a preliminary point, it is unclear when this discretion will be triggered. In ANB and Wan Lai Ting the courts treated s 32(3) as equivalent to the exclusionary discretion grounded in the court’s inherent jurisdiction by assessing the admissibility of hearsay evidence on the ground of its probative value and prejudicial effect. Conversely, the Court of Appeal in Gimpex laid down a multi-factoral approach that seeks to balance the significance of the evidence in terms of its probative value or importance to one or more of the issues against any factors that may militate against its admission, of which prejudice is merely one of factors militating against admission.

However, considering Gimpex is the most recent case and is a CA case, its approach should be adopted o

At [35]: Real issue is not whether admissible evidence might somehow be converted into inadmissible at the court’s choosing, but whether admissible evidence should nevertheless be excluded because of other countervailing factors that outweigh or override its value to the case


They also took Pinsler’s factors which they called ‘based on good sense and having due regard to the purposes of admitting HSE in order to promote the objectives of the trial process’ (at [106]) §

General test: admissible evidence may be excluded if it does not justify the disadvantages that would result from its admission, such as:•

Danger of unreliability or other harm that may compromise fair adjudication (Do the circumstances in which the statement was made raise concerns about its truthfulness?); 32

Additional costs (E.g. HSE is not necessary because it duplicates facts that was already inferred from something else);

Delay in the proceedings (Additional time is needed to adduce evidence or proceedings must be postponed);

Distraction of the court and/or the parties (Where the evidence raises collateral issues requiring undue attention);

Tendency to confuse or its misleading effect (Where there are doubts about reliability & good faith);


Lack of reliability;

Prejudice (Evidence would be substantively unjust or procedurally oppressive)

The less significant or probative the statement, the less forceful the countervailing factors would need to be to justify exclusion •

Particularly if the HSE has limited probative value, such evidence should properly be excluded. The party that seeks to rely on HSE must be able to show that there were safeguards applied to the evidence that would ensure a minimal degree of reliability


While CoA cautioned at [108] that it was not necessary for all the factors to be strictly considered in every case, the court acknowledged that Pinsler’s factors had a sufficient degree of generality that could be applicable to a range of situations


In Gimpex, the court excluded admissibility of the Sucofindo Report due to the Defendant’s failure to produce evidence sufficiently assuring the court that the Report had a minimum level of reliability: §

Sucofindo was willing to make alterations to its report at the request of the Dfs (who obviously wanted the change because it suited them) without regard to what was the true position;


Found that the confusion as to the dates on the Report (see [45] above) shows sloppiness on the part of Sucofindo in its preparation;


Unclear when the samples were obtained, and what category of coal they were obtained from


In Gimpex, the court did not exclude the admissibility of the Intertek Report despite conceding that the Report considered an inadequate number of samples. Considering the Report’s significance and probative value as evidence of the quality of the coal discharged, the countervailing factors against admission did not outweigh the benefit that would have been gained by admission.

v •


As argued by Chinty in Hearsay Reforms, the problem with the s 32(3) discretion is that it iis phrased in the highest generality o

This is Ivan’s point from Y1 – you may as well just say it has to be exercised ‘well’. Of course courts should act in the interests of justice, and without qualification arguably authorises a judge to act carte blanche in accordance to his view of what the phrase means §

Judges may be reasonably differ on what the interests of justice are in each case


Such an unfettered discretion is inherently contradictory to the rule of law, and cannot have been intended by the legislature


Due to the generality, it is difficult to appeal against the exercise of such judicial discretion 33

Appellate courts are generally reluctant to overturn decisions based on discretion,


a problem exacerbated by the vague phrasing of s 32(3) o

TJs may eschew exercising such a discretion in view of the vagueness of s 32(3), and instead seek to rely on determining the weight of the evidence under s 32(5) While this may appear to be the safer option, it would render the discretion an


otiose power Additionally, the judicial role in the admissibility and weight stages differ greatly


Admissibility – judge is primarily concerned with arguments based on the interpretation of rules or principles or policy extraneous to cogency, suh as probative value, and prejudice

Weight – sole issue is cogency, and any matter extraneous to cogency id irrelevant

Therefore, it would be wrong on principle to admit evidence that should be


excluded, on the ground that the judge decided to give it little or no weight



Columbia Asia Healthcare Sdn Bhd and another v Hong Hin Kit Edward and another Facts

Df submitted that that the court should reject the invoices & various Statements of Hours as the maker of the documents was not called to give evidence


Not disputed that s 32(1)(b) allows business records to be admissible in evidence even though the maker of the document does not give evidence o

On the facts of the case, it is not disputed that the invoices are documents that form part of the records of Kusnandar, which is a profession of lawyers (wtf who taught you English)

o •

Come within s 32(1)(b)(iv)

Is it in the interests of justice to do so? o

Contention wasn’t that the invoices were fabricated, but that they were sent w/o supporting material to show the nature & extent of work done and time taken to carry out the work


Court admitted the invoices – provide reliable info on how much Kusnandar charged for work done in respect of the MEC charge, however whether the info was enough to assist in determination of reasonableness of the charges is another matter

Gimpex Ltd v Unity Holdings Business Ltd and others and another appeal [2015] SGCA 8 (s 32(1)(b) of the EA) Facts

Df wanted to rely on the Sucofindo Report to show that the coal delivered was of satisfactory quality

Pf wanted to rely on the Inspectorate and Intertek Report to show otherwise

Trial judge refused to admit all reports on the basis that they were HSE since the individuals tasked with preparing them were not called forth as witnesses to testify the truth of the contents


Df argued that the Sucofindo Report is admissible under s 32(1)(b)(iv):

CoA held at [90] that the current s 32(1)(b) expressly includes ‘a statement made in a document that is, or forms part of, a record compiled by a person acting in the ordinary course of a trade, 34

business, profession, or other occupation based on info supplied by other persons’ o

Regardless of whether the person making the report had personal knowledge of the info required to make the report, it can be admissible


In fact, amendments clearly intended to ‘expand the scope of existing exceptions, especially the exception for statements made in the course of a trade, business, profession or other occupation’ à at [92], cited the Consultation Paper written in relation to the Bill §

Parliamentary intention behind the 2012 amendment of s 32(1)(b) was clearly to remove ‘technical limitations to the scope of the ‘business statement’ exception and allow the court the discretion to admit all business records produced in the ordinary course of business which appear prima facie authentic’


With s 32(1)(b), the real extension is that the scope of the provision is also applicable to statements/documents ‘based on information supplied by other persons’ (at [94]), citing Pinsler: •

Under s 32(1)(b)(iv) multiple hearsay to an unlimited degree may be admissible since there is no express requirement that the compiler & the persons who supplies info in the record must have personal knowledge of the info

Alternatively, Df tried to argue the report is admissible under s 32(1)(j) o


Plain reading of the provision reveals that there are two cumulative requirements: §

Witness outside SG


Not practicable to secure his attendance

Citing Cross & Tapper, ‘not practicable’ refers not to inability to attend, but inability to secure evidence §

Can be satisfied by recalcitrance of witness outside the country;


Requires an assessment of the likely effectiveness of taking normal steps to secure the attendance of the witness, considering:


[1] Importance of the evidence;

[2] Degree of prejudice to the defence if evidence is admitted;

[3] Expense & inconvenience involved in securing attendance

In this case, evidence was inadequate to prove that the evidence is admissible under s 32(1)(j) à no evidence of how the compilers of the report were previously contacted, and what efforts have been made to contact them

Court’s jurisdiction under s 32(3) o

Gives courts a ‘residual discretion to exclude HSE in the interests of justice’ to balance the potential increase in the admission of HSE due to the 2012 Amendments introducing more flexible exceptions to the HSR


With s 32(1)(b) in particular §

Expanded scope dispenses with requirement for the maker of the statement to have personal knowledge of the facts contained in the statement;


Or that direct oral evidence of the facts must have been admissible


Cites Pinsler’s raising of the possibility that admissible records under s 32(1)(b) may be unreliable


On Pinsler’s analysis of s 32(3): §

Real issue not whether previously admissible evidence (under s 5) can 35

somehow be converted to inadmissible evidence at the pleasure of the court, but whether admissible evidence should nevertheless be excluded because other countervailing factors outweigh or override the value it adds to the case §

General test: admissible evidence may be excluded if it does not justify the disadvantages that would result from its admission, such as:•

Danger of unreliability or other harm that may compromise fair adjudication;


Additional costs;

Delay in the proceedings;

Distraction of the court and/or the parties;

Tendency to confuse or its misleading effect;

Lack of reliability;


The less significant or probative the statement, the less forceful the countervailing factors would need to be to justify exclusion


Particularly if the HSE has limited probative value, such evidence should properly be excluded §

Therefore party that seeks to rely on HSE must be able to show that there were safeguards applied to the evidence that would ensure a minimal degree of reliability


While the Sucofindo report undoubtedly had significant importance for Df’s case, this must be weighed against the fact that it was unreliable and had a tendency to confuse or mislead à ultimately not admissible as per the court’s discretion since the court had serious concerns regarding its reliability

Pf argued that Intertek Report was admissible under s 32(1)(j)

Argued that no one from Intertek was willing to give evidence before a Singapore court, therefore the report is admissible o

CoA found that the email chain did prove that Pf attempted to procure the attendance of witnesses at trial, but they refused the request à admissible under s 32(1)(j)(iv)

Should court exercise discretion to exclude the report o

Df argued that the report was unreliable considering the number of samples of coal taken for analysis was grossly inadequate


However, court found that other than the number of coal samples, there was no proof of any other unreliability in terms of the report being tampered with etc.


Still admissible, although sample size would go to weight of the evidence

SIC College of Business and Technology Pte Ltd v Yeo Poh Siah and others [2015] SGHC 133 [20] (unreliability a ground for exercising discretion to exclude) Facts

Appellant contended that the key piece of evidence relied upon by the Judge was the Printout, which was extracted from the Appellant’s system & provided by Koo o


However, Koo was not called to give evidence à challenged that report was HSE

Judge considered Supramaniam’s document, which corroborated the report, but found that they were all derived from the same source – the Appellant’s accounting software o

Therefore cannot be said that the Document is corroborative of the facts stated in the printout – that’s like saying a partial photocopy of a book corroborates the truth of the 36

contents of the book o

Citing Wan Lai Ting v Kea Kah Kim, the court did not admit the report – at [54], highly prejudicial for a party to rely on evidence that the maker of the statement can testify to but chooses not to do so, may give rise to the possibility that the party was trying to prevent the maker from being xx because the evidence cannot survive xx

Bumi Geo Engineering Pte Ltd v Civil Tech Pte Ltd [2015] 5 SLR 1322; [2015] SGHC 261 /held/

Generally, HSE renders inadmissible a document adduced to establish the facts it refers to in the absence of direct evidence of the facts contained therein (Pinsler) o

Direct evidence – evidence of someone who has a personal knowledge of the facts


S 32(1)(b) is an exception to the HSR because the rationale is that a statement or entry made in the ordinary course or routine of business or duty may be presumed to have been done from disinterested motive and may therefore be taken to be generally true (at [104], citing Sarker’s Law of Evidence)


However, must be in the course of business §

Which means it must be within the course of transactions performed in one’s habitual relations with others, as a material part of one’s mode of obtaining a livelihood (Sarkar’s)


In this case – table was prepared for the purposes of litigation, and there’s no evidence that the info in the table was extracted from any document prepared in the ordinary course of business à inadmissible

Public Prosecutor v Sutherson, Sujay Solomon [2016] 1 SLR 632; [2015] SGHC 292 (s 32(1)(j) (iii)). Facts

An issue that arose during trial was the admissibility of the HAS report which detailed the DNA profile of A and was intended to be used to establish his presence at the scene of crime

Analyst preparing the report had testified during the committal hearing, but had subsequently left HAS to return to Hong Kong, and did not avail herself to testify during trial


Prosecution argued that the report was not HSE, could still be admitted under s 32(1)(j)(iii)

On the facts of the case o

Analyst had resigned, so when the IO sent a reminder to her email address with HAS regarding the upcoming trial, she didn’t reply


He also tried to call her on the first day of trial, and still failed to reach her à discovered that she had left SG


Finally managed to contact her in HK, but she cited personal reasons and refused to return to SG to testify, even though IO informed her that her travel expenses would be paid and that she would be given subsistence allowance

On the law – as per Gimpex, two requirements of s 32(1)(j)(iii): o

Witness must be outside SG;


Not practicable to secure his or her attendance à cited Gimpex (which cited Tapper) – this requirement refers to inability to secure attendance, implies an assessment of the likely effectiveness of taking normal steps to secure the attendance of the witness, which is considered in relation to:-


Importance of evidence;


Degree of prejudice to defence if admitted;


Expense & inconvenience involved in securing attendance

In this case, it wasn’t practicable to secure her attendance:37


IO had already acted with considerable expedition;


Took reasonable steps to secure her attendance – managed to get in touch with her, informed her that her cost of return would be borne by the State However, she made it clear that she had no interest in returning to SG


Should court exclude the report anyway in the interests of justice (s 32(3))?

Cited Gimpex – do countervailing factors outweigh the benefits of having the evidence


admitted? Also cited Gimpex’s opinion that courts should not normally exercise their


discretion to exclude evidence admissible under the EA In this case, A did not allege impropriety in the testing process or preparation of report



Prosecution even arranged for another analyst to testify as to the DNA profiling procedure adopted by HAS & explain how to read the report


Court concluded that there was no reason to refuse its admission

C. S 32(4): Notice Requirements •

S 32(4) of the EA requires that the party who intends to admit HSE under s 32(1) to give advance notice of his intent

S 32(4) Requirements o

a) The party has previously served a notice in writing on each of the other parties of his intention to introduce the evidence;


b) The notice must state on which of the grounds in section 32(1) of the Evidence Act it is claimed that the statement is admissible;


c) In the case of a statement not made in document, the notice must state the manner in which it was made (whether orally or otherwise) and must also state — §

(i) The time and place at which the statement was made;


(ii) The name of the maker of the statement and (unless he is dead) his address, if known;


(iii) If the maker of the statement is dead, the date of the death of the maker, to the best of the information and belief of the party serving the notice;


(iv) The name and address of the person who heard or otherwise perceived the statement being made; and


(v) He substance of the statement or, if it was made orally and the actual words used in making it are material, the words used; and


d) In the case of a statement made in a document, the notice must contain or have attached to it a copy of that document or the relevant part of that document and, if the information is not readily apparent from the document or the relevant part of the document, must also state — §

(i) The matters mentioned in paragraph (c)(i), (ii) and (iii);


(ii) If the maker of the document is different from the maker of the statement, the name of the maker of the document and (unless he is dead) his address, if known; and


(iii) If the maker of the document is dead, the date of the death of the maker, to the best of the information and belief of the party serving the notice.


A failure to comply with the notice provisions would mean that evidence cannot be given under s 32(1), with the exception of statements admitted by agreement under s 32(1)(k) o

This means that cases such as Teper (the unidentified woman shouting ‘your shop is burning down) cannot comply with the notice requirements because the maker of the statement cannot be identified

D. S 32(5) Assignment of Weight •

S 32(5) of the EA states that were a statement is admitted in evidence under s 32(1_, the court shall assign such weight as it deems fit to the statement

After admitting HSE, the court may give it little weight because: o

Unreliability (Multiple hearsay, unreliable witness etc.);


Prejudicial value is high (e.g. Using Co-A’s confession against A);

It should be noted that s 32(5) appears to give the judge the liberty to assign weight as he deems fit. This appears to be a true discretion, and is unlikely to be overturned unless he acted in an irrational or biased way o

CoA in Gimpex recognised that there is a there is a fine line between a decision not to admit hearsay evidence under s 32(3), and a decision to admit hearsay evidence and accord it less weight under s 32(5)


However, it is not desirable to leave admit evidence that should be inadmissible, and then apportion it little or no weight – §

The safeguard of weight should complement rather than replace the safeguard of admissibility;


Furthermore, the apportionment of weight is a finding of fact which an appellate court is unlikely to disturb, as opposed to admissibility which is a finding of law

Factors taken into consideration in s 4(2) of the UK Civil Evidence Act (Bear in mind, its civil evidence, so you can cite the factors but maybe don’t say where its from) o

(1) The reasonableness or otherwise of producing the actual witness;


(2) Contemporaneity between original statement and occurrence of the matters stated;


(3) Whether the evidence involves multiple hearsay;


(4) Any motive to conceal or misrepresent matters;


(5) Whether the original evidence was an edited account, or was made in collaboration with another or for a particular purpose; and


(6) Whether the circumstances in which the hearsay was adduced was such to deprive the judge of assigning it its proper weight.


Even if the court decides that ___’s evidence fails to fall within the hearsay exception, it may be possible to argue that the evidence is nevertheless admissible under the doctrine of res gestae

Under the inclusionary common law doctrine of res gestae, a fact, statement of fact, or opinion which is so closely associated in time, place and circumstances with some act, event, or state of affairs in issue that it can be said to form part of the same transaction as the act or event is in itself admissible



Since res gestae is a doctrine of inclusion, it actually render admissible that which is excluded as hearsay, opinion, or evidence

Rationale o

Adjudication will be much more effective if the court is able to assess the facts in issue in light of the immediate circumstances from which the facts in issue spring, including the conduct & statements of the relevant parties at or about the time of the occurrence of the facts in issue


Additionally, if the evidence were spontaneous, it would be less likely to be fabricated and more likely to be true

Is this in line with our EA? o

The problem is, its been applied as though it is, even though under s 2(2), common law rules are repealed to the extent they are incompatible with the EA


Arguably, the res gestae doctrine is incompatible with the hearsay rule in the EA – under s 32(1) a statement of a relevant fact is only a relevant fact under any of the subsections of s 32(1) §

Even under s 6(1), facts admissible if they occur ‘at the same time & place, or at different times & places’


Illustrations also indicate that the HSE doesn’t have to be from the same transaction:•

(a) If A is accused of murder of B by beating him, then whatever A or B said or did so shortly before or after it as to form part of the same transaction is a relevant fact;

(c) If A sues B for libel, letters between the two relating to the subject out of which the libel arose are relevant, even if they do not contain the libel itself





However, its just been applied anyway, so go with it

E. Application of Res Gestae •

There are two conflicting approaches under the doctrine of res gestae:

The contemporaneity approach as seen in cases like Bedingfield and Allapitchay which requires exact contemporaneity; o

Bedingfield - An exclamation made by V while rushing out of the house with her throat cut was in question. The statement was "see what Bedingfield has done to me". It was held inadmissible as the transaction in question, i.e. the girl having her throat cut, was over by the time she made the statement, so it was not part of the transaction.


Allapitchay - Case involved an attack on a stallholder at Telok Ayer market. The statement in question was V’s cry of ‘Mohamed has stabbed me’, When some of the stallholders went to help him, he repeated that Mohamed had stabbed him, and that ‘Hassan and Haja Mohideen were with him’. CoA cited Bedingfield, and ruled that these statements were not


res gestae – they were not part of the same transaction since it was made after the three persons who allegedly committed the crime had run away. •

The reliability approach, as seen in cases like Ratten and Andrews, which does not require strict contemporaneity and considers whether circumstances give rise to the possibility of concoction & fabrication o

Ratten – as per Lord Wilberforce, the test for res gestae should not be the uncertain one of whether the making of a statement was in some sense part of the event or the transaction. This would be difficult to establish since external matters such as time lapses between the events & the speaking of words (or vice versa), and also difficult to decide whether changes in location would be decisive criteria. §

Conversely, a more certain test is whether the statement was clearly made in the circumstances of spontaneity or involvement with the event that the possibility of concoction could be disregarded. •

Therefore the evidence is admissible if the drama leading up to the climax has commenced & assumed such intensity & pressure that the utterance can safely be regarded as a “true reflection… of what was actually happening”

Accordingly, the evidence would not be admissible if the evidence was made by way of narrative of a detached prior event so that the speaker was so disengaged from it that the speaker was able to construct or adapt his account


Therefore on the facts of the case, PC held that the statement ‘get me the police please’ was HSE, but could be admitted as part of res gestae because it was made minutes before she was shot and therefore likely to be free of concoction


Andrews – A was convicted of aggravated burglary & manslaughter. He was identified by V, who was able to proceed downstairs to the flat below and ask for help after being stabbed and inform the police of the attacker’s identity before dying §

HoL took into account the TJ’s opinion that the injuries V sustained ‘were of such a nature that it would drive out of his mind any possibility of him being activated by malice’. Therefore, HoL held that these statements were res gestae because there was no possibility in the circumstances of any concoction or fabrication of identification, and thus inadmissible.


Case also stands for the point that if the maker of the statement has merely made a mistake as opposed to deliberately fabricating the facts narrated in the statement, this only affects the weight and not admissibility of the statement

In SG, Chi Tin Hui appeared to endorse the more flexible common law test by determining that the oral statements of A to a CNB Officer in response to the his questions immediately after A’s arrest could form part of the res gestae o

At [27], even though CoA did not cite Ratten, it held that the ‘oral statements were clearly made by A in circumstances of spontaneity’, even though the transportation of drugs transaction clearly ended as soon as A was arrested & handcuffed


Pinsler says arguably, CTH doesn’t even satisfy the Ratten test à despite everything we know about the propriety of our police force, there is no absolute guarantee that there was no falsehood or embellishment of evidence in the interest of securing the conviction 41

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