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Further amending the Law touching Evidence and
HEREAS the Laws touching Evidence and Procedure Preamble. require further Amendment: Be it therefore enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in 5 this present Parliament assembled, and by the Authority of the same, as follows:
Sects. 20. to Vict. c. 125. extended to
27. of 17 & 18
all Courts of Justice.
I. Whereas by the Twentieth Section of the Common Law Procedure Act, 1854, it is enacted, that "if any Person called as a "Witness or required or desiring to make an Affidavit or Deposition 10 "shall refuse or be unwilling from alleged conscientious Motives to "be sworn, it shall be lawful for the Court or Judge, or other presiding Officer or Person qualified to take Affidavits or Depositions, upon being satisfied of the Sincerity of such Objection, to permit Sect. 103. "such Person, instead of being sworn, to make his or her solemn of 17 & 18 15" Affirmation or Declaration in the Words following; videlicet,
IA.B. do solemnly, sincerely, and truly affirm and declare, That the taking of any Oath is, according to my religious Belief, unlawful; and I do also solemnly, sincerely, and truly "affirm and declare, &c.'
Vict. c. 125.
"Which solemn Affirmation and Declaration shall be of the same "Force and Effect as if such Person had taken an Oath in the usual "Form:" And by the Twenty-first Section thereof it is enacted, "that "if any Person making such solemn Affirmation or Declaration shall wilfully, falsely, and corruptly affirm or declare any Matter or 5 Thing which, if the same had been sworn in the usual Form, "would have amounted to wilful and corrupt Perjury, every such "Person so offending shall incur the same Penalties as by the Laws "and Statutes of this Kingdom are or may be enacted or provided "against Persons convicted of wilful and corrupt Perjury:" And 10 by the Twenty-second Section thereof it is enacted, that "a "Party producing a Witness shall not be allowed to impeach "his Credit by general Evidence of bad Character, but he 66 may, in case the Witness shall, in the Opinion of the Judge, prove adverse, contradict him by other Evidence, or, by Leave 15 "of the Judge, prove that he has made at other Times a Statement "inconsistent with his present Testimony; but before such last" mentioned Proof can be given the Circumstances of the supposed "Statement, sufficient to designate the particular Occasion, must be "mentioned to the Witness, and he must be asked whether or not he 20 "has made such Statement:" And by the Twenty-third Section thereof it is enacted, that "if a Witness, upon Cross-examination as to a former Statement made by him relative to the Subject-matter of "the Cause, and inconsistent with his present Testimony, does not "distinctly admit that he has made such Statement, Proof may be 25 "given that he did in fact make it; but before such Proof can be given the Circumstances of the supposed Statement, sufficient to designate the particular Occasion, must be mentioned to the Witness, "and he must be asked whether or not he has made such Statement:" And by the Twenty-fourth Section thereof it is enacted, "that a 30 "Witness may be cross-examined as to previous Statements made by "him in Writing, or reduced into Writing, relative to the Subject
matter of the Cause, without such Writing being shown to him; but "if it is intended to contradict such Witness by the Writing, his "Attention must, before such contradictory Proof can be given, be 35 "called to those Parts of the Writing which are to be used for the "Purpose of so contradicting him: Provided always, that it shall be competent for the Judge at any Time during the Trial to require "the Production of the Writing for his Inspection, and he may thereupon make such Use of it for the Purposes of the Trial as he shall 40 "think fit:" And by the Twenty-fifth Section thereof it is enacted, that "a Witness in any Cause may be questioned as to whether he "has been convicted of any Felony or Misdemeanor, and on being so questioned, if he either denies the Fact or refuses to answer, it "shall be lawful for the opposite Party to prove such Conviction, and 45
a Certificate containing the Substance and Effect only (omitting the "formal Part) of the Indictment and Conviction for such Offence,
purporting to be signed by the Clerk of the Court or other Officer having the Custody of the Records of the Court where the Offender 5 was convicted, or by the Deputy of such Clerk or Officer (for "which Certificate a Fee of Five Shillings and no more shall be "demanded or taken), shall, upon Proof of the Identity of the Person, "be sufficient Evidence of the said Conviction, without Proof of the Signature or official Character of the Person appearing to have 10" signed the same:" And by the Twenty-sixth Section thereof it is enacted, that "it shall not be necessary to prove by the attesting "Witness any Instrument to the Validity of which Attestation is not requisite; and such Instrument may be proved by Admission or "otherwise as if there had been no attesting Witness thereto :" And 15 by the Twenty-seventh Section thereof it is enacted, that “ Compa"rison of a disputed Writing with any Writing proved to the "Satisfaction of the Judge to be genuine shall be permitted to be "made by Witnesses, and such Writings and the Evidence of Witnesses respecting the same may be submitted to the Court and Jury as Evidence of the Genuineness or otherwise of the Writing "in dispute" And whereas it is expedient to extend the Operation of the said Provisions: Be it enacted, That the same shall apply and extend to all Courts of Judicature, as well criminal as all others, and to all Persons having by Law or by Consent of Parties Authority to 25 hear, receive, and examine Evidence.
14 & 15 Vict.
II. Whereas by the Fourth Section of an Act passed in the Four- Sect. 4. of teenth and Fifteenth Years of Her present Majesty, Chapter Ninety- c. 99. in part nine, it is enacted, that nothing therein contained shall apply to any repealed. Action, Suit, Proceeding, or Bill in any Court of Common Law or in 30 any Ecclesiastical Court, or in either House of Parliament, instituted in consequence of Adultery, or to any Action for Breach of Promise of Marriage: Be it enacted, That so much thereof as enacts that nothing therein contained shall apply to any Action, Suit, or Proceeding in any Court of Common Law instituted in consequence of 35 Adultery, or to any Action for Breach of Promise of Marriage, shall be and is hereby repealed.
c. 96. re
III. Whereas by the Second Section of the Act of the Fourteenth Sect. 36. of and Fifteenth Years of Her present Majesty, Chapter Ninety-nine, it 18 & 19 Vict. is enacted, "that on the Trial of any Issue joined or of any Matter pealed. "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
A single Witness sufficient to
"in whose Behalf any such Suit, Action, or other Proceeding may
IV. Any Fact may be proved or disproved in any Suit, Action, or Proceeding, whether civil or criminal, in any Court of Judicature, by prove any Fact. the uncorroborated Testimony of a single Witness, if such Testimony Proviso as be deemed worthy of Credit; but this Enactment shall not apply to to High Treason and any Prosecution for High Treason or to Orders of Affiliation.
V. In every Suit, Action, or Proceeding, whether civil or criminal, in any Court of Judicature or before any Person having by Law or by Consent of Parties Authority to hear, receive, and examine Evidence, in Evidence. wherein any Person subject to the Bankruptcy Laws, or his Executors, Administrators, or Assignee, shall be a Party, the Books of 35 Account of such Person shall, if the Entries therein can be proved to have been made either by himself or by some Clerk or Agent of his whose Absence is satisfactorily accounted for, be receivable on behalf of such Person or his Representative as some Evidence of the Truth of the Matters therein contained; provided such Books or the Entries 40 in question shall appear to the Judge or other presiding Officer to have been made and kept fairly, and with a reasonable Degree of Regularity.