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CRIMINAL EVIDENCE ACT, 1898.
TEXT OF ACT.
An Act to amend the Law of Evidence.
[12th August 1898.]
Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—
1. Competency of witnesses in criminal cases.]-Every person charged with an offence, and the wife or husband, as the case may be, of the person so charged, shall be a competent witness for the defence at every stage of the proceedings, whether the person so charged is charged solely or jointly with any other person.1 Provided as follows:(a) A person so charged shall not be called as a witness in pursuance of this Act except upon his own application:
(b) The failure of any person charged with an offence, or of the wife or husband, as the case may be, of the person so charged, to give evidence shall not be made the subject of any comment by the prosecution 2:
(c) The wife or husband of the person charged shall not, save as in this Act mentioned, be called as a witness in pursuance of this Act except upon the application of the person so charged3: (d) Nothing in this Act shall make a husband compellable to disclose any communication made to him by his wife during the marriage, or a wife
compellable to disclose any communication made to her by her husband during the marriage1:
person charged and being a witness in pursuance
(i) the proof that he has committed or been con-
(iii) he has given evidence against any other person
(g) Every person called as a witness in pursuance of this Act shall, unless otherwise ordered by the Court, give his evidence from the witness box or other place from which the other witnesses give their evidence:
(h) Nothing in this Act shall affect the provisions of section eighteen of the Indictable Offences Act, 1848,9 or any right of the person charged to make a statement without being sworn.1 10
2. Evidence of person charged.]-Where the only witness to the facts of the case called by the defence is the person charged, he shall be called as a witness immediately after the close of the evidence for the prosecution.1
1 Ante, p. 35.
3. Right of reply.]-In cases where the right of reply depends upon the question whether evidence has been called for the defence, the fact that the person charged has been called as a witness shall not of itself confer on the prosecution the right of reply.1
1 Ante, p. 36.
4. Calling of wife or husband in certain cases.](1.) The wife or husband of a person charged with an offence under any enactment mentioned in the Schedule to this Act1 may be called as a witness either for the prosecution or defence and without the consent of the person charged.2
(2.) Nothing in this Act shall affect a case where the wife or husband of a person charged with an offence may at common law be called as a witness without the consent of that person.3
1 Ante, p. 39.
2 Ante, p. 39.
3 Ante, p. 44.
5. Application of Act to Scotland.]-In Scotland, in a case where a list of witnesses is required, the husband or wife of a person charged shall not be called as a witness for the defence, unless notice be given in the terms prescribed by section thirty-six of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act, 1887.1
150 & 51 Vict. c. 35, s. 36; see ante, p. 49; and see this and other sections of that Act printed post, pp. 88 et seqq.
6. Provision as to previous Acts.]—(1.) This Act shall apply to all criminal proceedings, notwithstanding any enactment in force at the commencement of this Act,1 except that nothing in this Act shall affect the Evidence Act, 1877.2
(2.) But this Act shall not apply to proceedings in Courts Martial unless so applied—
(a) as to Courts Martial under the Naval Discipline Act, by General Orders made in pursuance of section sixty-five of that Act; and
(b) as to Courts Martial under the Army Act by Rules made in pursuance of section seventy of that Act.4
2 40 & 41 Vict. c. 14; see ante,
3 29 & 30 Vict. c. 109, s. 65; see ante, p. 53. 444 & 45 Vict. c. 58, s. 70; see ante, p. 53.
7. Extent, commencement, and short title.]—(1.) This Act shall not extend to Ireland.
(2.) This Act shall come into operation on the expiration of two months from the passing thereof.1
(3.) This Act may be cited as the Criminal Evidence Act, 1898.
5 Geo. 4, c. 83 .... | The Vagrancy Act, 1824. The enactment punishing
Property Act, 1882.
a man for neglecting to maintain or deserting his wife or any of his family.2 Section eighty.3
Sections forty-eight to fifty-five.
Section twelve and section sixteen.5
48 & 49 Vict. c. 69. The Criminal Law The whole Act.6
Amendment Act, 1885.
57 & 58 Vict. c. 41. The Prevention of Cruelty The whole Act." to Children Act, 1894.
THE EVIDENCE ACT, 1851.
14 & 15 VICT. c. 99.
(Lord Denman's Act.)
Passed 7th August, 1851.
Came into operation 1st November, 1851 s. 20.
2. Parties to be admissible witnesses.1]-On the trial of any issue joined, or of any matter or question, or on any inquiry arising in any suit, action, or other proceeding in any Court of Justice, or before any person having by law, or by consent of parties, authority to hear, receive, and examine evidence, the parties thereto, and the persons in whose behalf any such suit, action, or other proceeding may be brought or defended, shall, except as hereinafter excepted, be competent and compellable 2 to give evidence, either vivâ voce or by deposition, according to the practice of the Court, on behalf of either or any of the parties to the said suit, action, or other proceeding.
1 This was the first enactment which enabled parties to an action to give evidence. If a husband and wife were joint parties, they were thus enabled to give evidence; otherwise the wife or husband of either party was still precluded (until 1853: see s. 1 of Act of 1853, post, p. 71) from giving evidence on the ground of interest: see 2 Tay. Evid. pp. 877-9.
Compellable" means compellable by process of law": Kops v. R., (1894) A. C. 650, at 653, P. C.; 6 R. 522; 70 L. T. 890; 58 J. P. 668.
3. Nothing herein to compel person charged with criminal offence to give evidence tending to criminate himself, &c.1]— But nothing herein contained shall render any person who in any criminal proceeding is charged with the commission of any indictable offence, or any offence punishable on summary conviction, competent or compellable2 to give evidence for or against himself or herself, or shall render any