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Lecture 1 Introduction

General Introduction
In the second part of our study of the Law of Evidence we will delve further in to the issue of admissibility
and weight and the various principles which govern these elements. Although we will explore new chapters
of the Law of Evidence in Paper II, certain fundamental principles considered in Paper I will continue to be
relevant and applicable in the study of the elements of Paper II.

Evidence can be divided into


1. Relevancy – Completed in the Law of Evidence I, hence there will be no direct questions but some
standard knowledge is needed for answering related questions.

2. Admissibility – Continuation from where we left off. Will be focusing on exclusionary rules i.e.
confession.

3. Weight – burden and standard of proof, will be look into in more detail.

Topics
The following topics will be considered:

1. General Introduction

2. Similar Fact Evidence (SFE)


Evidence of past criminal conduct, usually connected with bad character

GR: not admissible


Reason: - Not fair and prejudicial
- Rule in criminal law is that each charge must be proved by individual evidence

Exception: - Evidence of previous conviction of similar nature


- When SFE is unique to show system or modus operandi
- Can be found in statute (i.e. EA) and common law)

3. Character Evidence
- must differentiate between reputation (What others think) and disposition (what person really is)
- Divided into good and bad character evidence.
- relevant sections s53-s55 EA

4. Opinion Evidence
GR: Witness are not allowed to give opinion
Exception: Where it is beyond the knowledge of the court i.e. special area which require the experience
and special knowledge of others. Example: Finger print.

5. Documentary Evidence
Divided into primary and secondary documentary documents

GR: Must tender original or primary documentary evidence


Exception: When original lost or destroyed then secondary evidence admissible. Example: carbon
copies.

6. Witnesses
3 parts:
i) Competency, compellability and privilege
Competency – looks at capacity of the individual i.e. insanity, tender age or extreme old age
Compellability – witness can be force or compel to give evidence even is witness is a spouse

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Privilege – Accused cannot be compelled to give evidence against himself and had the right to
remain silent i.e. accused priviledge
– Accused spouse is also not compelled to certain personal question i.e. marital privilege.
– Communication between accused and his lawyer cannot be compelled to be given in
court i.e. legal privilege

ii) Corroboration
Refers to independent supporting evidence which goes to weight
There are 3 categories or suspects which requires corroboration
- accomplice
- child
- sexual offence victim or complainant

iii) Examination of witnesses


- Examination-in-chief (cannot ask leading questions)
- Cross-examination (can ask leading questions)
- Re-examination (undo damage done during cross examination but cannot bring up new
evidence)

7. Judicial Notice
GR: All facts before the court must be proven through evidence
Exception: - admitted or undisputed facts
- judicial notice Example: a week starts on Sunday, while the year begins on 1 st January

8. Improper Admission of Evidence

Reading Materials
1. MLJ CLP Series: Evidence – M .Peters
2. Evidence: Practice & Procedure – Augustine Paul
3. Sarkar on Evidence – S.Sarkar & VR Manohar
4. Cross on Evidence –R.Cross
5. Evidence Act 1950