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(c). In an action for damages by collision, it appeared that the defendant's vessel while in motion came into collision with the plaintiff's vessel which was at anchor. Held, that the fact that the plaintiff's vessel at the time of collision was at anchor, and could be seen was primâ facie evidence of negligence on the part of the defendants-Clyde Navigation Co. v. Barclay, 12 P. D. 46; 56 L. J. 83.
Ill-will.—A certain newspaper called the Rajya Bhakta published a false and defamatory statement of the plaintiff. More than a month afterwards, the defendant published an article in their newspaper, the Jame Jamsed, calling attention to the statement made in the Rajya Bhakta and repeating it. The article, however, declared that the said statement was evidently false. It pointed out that the defendants were the first to raise an outcry against it; that they had expected the plaintiff to take notice of it, but that as he had not done so, they published that intimation to the public. The plaintiff sued the defendants for libel. He complained that the defendants had maliciously repeated and called attention to the libel in their paper for the purpose of giving it a wide circulation, and that their assertion of its untruth was made merely in order to protect themselves. The defendants pleaded that the article in their paper was not defamatory, and denied malice. Held, that reading the article as a whole and in its natural sense, and taking it in connection with previous articles appearing in the defendant's paper with reference to the plaintiff, it was in itself defamatory of the plaintiff—Kaikhasru Naoroji Kabraji v. Jehangir B. Murzban, I. L. R. 14 Bom. 532.
15. When there is a question whether an act was accidental or intentional, the fact
whether act was accidental or intentional.
on question that such act formed part of a series of similar occurrences, in each of which the person doing the act was concerned, is relevant.
(a). A is accused of burning down his house in order to obtain money for which it is insured. The facts that A lived in several houses successively, each of which he insured, in each of which a fire occurred, and after each of which fires A received payment from a different insurance office, are relevant, as tending to show that the fires were not accidental.
(b). A is employed to receive money from the debtors of B. It is A's duty to make entries in a book showing the amounts received by him. He makes an entry showing that on a particular occasion he received less than he really did receive. The question is, whether this false entry was accidental or intentional. The facts that other entries made by A in the same book are false, and that the false entry is in each case in favour of A, are relevant.
(c). A is accused of fraudulently delivering to B a counterfeit rupee. The question is, whether the delivery of the rupee was accidental. The facts that, soon before or soon after the delivery to B, A delivered counterfeit rupees to C, D and E are relevant, as showing that the delivery to B was not accidental.
Purport.-This section is merely an application of the rule laid down in sec. 14. The facts contemplated by this section are facts showing system. In each of the cases by which it is illustrated the evidence admitted went to prove the true character of facts which, standing alone, might naturally have been accounted for on the supposition of accident. A supposition which was rebutted by the repetition of similar occurrences. In the case of R. v. Gray, (4 F. and F. 1102) there were many other circumstances which would have been sufficient to prove the prisoner's guilt, apart from the previous fires. Illustration (a) is a statement of the above case. Illustration (b) is in principle identical with the case of Reg. v. Richardson, (2 F. and F. 343), the only difference being that Reg. v. Richardson was a case of swelling debits, and the illustration is a case of reducing credits.
The rule laid down in this and the preceding sections is more general than the English law on the subject. The English law excludes evidence of what the prisoner said or did at the time with respect to previous similar occurrences, "for these are collateral facts too remote for any reasonable presumption of guilt to be founded upon them, and such as the prisoner cannot by any possibility be prepared to contradict."-Taylor, sec. 322. But such statements would, I presume, be evidence under secs. 8 and 9 as explaining relevant facts.
Vide Queen-Empress v. Vajiram, I. L. R. 16 Bom. 414, cited under
Accident.-In R. v. Voke, Russ. and Ry. 531, the prisoner was indicted for maliciously shooting at the prosecutor. Evidence was given that the prisoner fired at the prosecutor twice during the day. In the course of the trial it was objected that the prosecutor ought not
to give evidence of two distinct felonies, but Mr. Justice Burrough held that it was admissible, on the ground that the counsel for the prisoner by his cross-examination of the prosecutor had endeavoured to show that the gun might have gone off by accident: and the learned Judge thought the second firing was evidence to show that the first was wilful and to remove the doubt, if any existed, in the minds of the jury.
Infirmative Hypotheses affecting Real Evidence.-In speaking of the infirmative hypotheses affecting real evidence, Mr. Best in his valuable work on Evidence at page 187 makes the following observations : "Considered in the abstract, real evidence, apparently indicative of guilt, may be indebted for its criminative shape to accident, forgery, or the lawful action of the accused. Here it must not be forgotten that sometimes the most innocent men cannot explain, or give any account whatever of facts which seem to criminate them, and the experience of almost every person will supply him with instances of extraordinary occurrences, the cause of which is to him, at least, completely wrapped in mystery. 1st-Accident. The appearance of blood on the clothes of an accused or suspected person may be explained by his having in the dark, come in contact with a bloody body. Under this head come those cases where the appearance is the result of irresponsible agency; as where the act has been done by a party in a state of somnambulism; or as in the case of the unfortunate person in France, who was executed as a thief, on the strength of a number of articles of missing silver having been found in a place to which he alone had access, and which were afterwards discovered to have been deposited there by a magpie."
16. When there is a question whether a particular act was done, the existence of any course of business, according to which it naturally would have been done, is a relevant fact.
Existence of course of business when relevant.
(a). The question is, whether a particular letter was despatched. The facts that it was the ordinary course of business for all letters put in a certain place to be carried to the post, and that that particular letter was put in that place, are relevant.
(6). The question is, whether a particular letter reached A. The facts that it was posted in due course, and was not returned through the Dead Letter Office, are relevant.
"This section proceeds upon the well-recognized fact that the conduct of human beings is generally, and in official and commercial matters, to a very great extent indeed, uniform. The books of a well ordered firm, for instance, are kept from year to year in so unvarying a manner, that there is the strongest presumption that the regularity will not, in any particular instance, be departed from. Some great departments, such as the Post Office, work with such mechanical exactness that uniformity may be regarded as next door to certain. The existence of such a course of business should be clearly made out."-Cung. Evidence Act, 124.
Letters.—(a). The press copy of a letter to prove the allotment of shares in a liquidating company is inadmissible in evidence, there being nothing to show that the original letter was properly addressed or posted-Ramdas Chuckerbutti v. The Official Liquidator, Cotton Ginning Co., Ld., I. L. R. 9 All. 366.
(b). The post-mark on a letter renders the letter admissible in evidence and is prima facie evidence that the letter was in the post at the time and place therein specified-Anderson v. Weston, 6 Bin. N. C. 296; Polery v. Glosoop, 2 Ex. 191.
(c). Mr. Taylor says: "If letters or notices properly directed to a gentleman be left with his servant, it is only reasonable to presume prima facie, that they reached his hands. The fact too of sending a letter to the Post Office will in general be regarded by a jury presumptively proved, if it be shown to have been handed to or left with the clerk whose duty it was in the ordinary course of business to carry letters to the post and if he can declare that, although he has no recollection of the particular letter, he invariably took to the Post Office all letters that either were delivered to him, or were deposited in a certain place for that purpose." Sec. 148.
(d). If a person refuses a registered letter sent by post, he cannot afterwards plead ignorance of its contents-Luft Ali Miah v. Peari Mohan Rai, 16 W. R. 223.
(e). Where a notice to quit was sent by a registered letter, the posting of which was proved, and which was produced in Court in the cover in which it was despatched, that cover containing the notice with an endorsement upon it purporting to be by an officer of the Post Office stating the refusal of the addressee to receive the letter. Held, that this was sufficient service of notice-Jogendra Chundra Ghose v. Dwarka Nath Karmokar, I. L. R. 15 Cal. 681; Luft Ali Miah v. Peari Mohan Rai, 16 W. R. 223 and Papillon v. Brunton, 5 H. and N. 518, referred to.
17. An admission is a statement, oral or documentary, which suggests any inference as to any fact in issue or relevant fact, and which is made by any of the persons, and under the circumstances, hereinafter mentioned.
Rule regarding Admission.-The definition of admission is intended to exclude admissions by pleadings, admissions which, if so pleaded, amount to estoppels, and admissions made for the purpose of a cause by the parties or their solicitors.-Stephen's Digest, 165. The general rule with regard to admissions, which are defined to mean all that the parties on their representatives in certain degrees say about the matter in dispute, or facts relevant thereto, is that they may be proved against those who made them, but not in their favour.Stephen's Evidence Act, 126.
Distinction between Admission and Confession.-The English Law of Evidence makes a distinction between admission and confession. The term admission is usually applied to civil transactions, and to those matters of fact, in criminal cases, which do not involve criminal intent; the term confession being generally restricted to acknowledgments of guilt.
Application of secs. 17-22.—The provisions of secs. 17-22 are applicable to criminal as well as civil cases. In criminal cases, admissions procured by inducement, threat or promise are not admissible, but it seems that admissions thus obtained, in the absence of illegal duress, are admissible in civil suits.
Best on Admission.—Mr. Best says: "The present (chapter) will be devoted to that species of evidence for or against a party which is afforded by the language or demeanour of himself, or of those whom he represents, or of those who represent him. All such evidence we purpose to designate by the expression 'self-regarding.' When in favour of the party supplying it, the evidence may be said to be 'selfserving,' when otherwise, 'self-harming.'
"The rule of law with respect to self-regarding evidence, is that when in the self-serving form it is not in general receivable; but that in the self-harming form it is, with few exceptions, receivable, and is usually considered proof of a very satisfactory kind. For, although, when viewed independently of jurisprudence, it would be difficult to maintain that the declarations, or what is equivalent to