Evidence Act


Published: 1996-06-01

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Evidence Act
EVIDENCE [CH.65 – 1





LRO 1/2008 STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

EVIDENCE
CHAPTER 65

EVIDENCE
LIST OF AUTHORISED PAGES
1 - 2 LRO 1/2008
3 - 8 Original
9 - 10 LRO 1/2008
11 - 22 Original
23 - 24 LRO 1/2008
25 - 77 Original

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS


PART I
PRELIMINARY

SECTION

1. Short title.
2. Interpretation.
3. Evidence admissible under other Acts.

PART II
ADMISSIBILITY OF EVIDENCE

Evidence Generally

4. Facts of which evidence may be given.
5. Evidence against conspirators.
6. Evidence of course of business.
7. Evidence of series of acts to show knowledge or intention.
8. Special rules in case of persons found in possession of stolen goods — evidence of

previous conviction.
9. Evidence of possession of other goods stolen within previous year.
10. Evidence of intention, motive, etc.
11. Evidence of historical books, maps, etc.
12. Power of court to disallow evidence unless shown to be admissible.
13. Discretion of court as to manner in which evidence may be shown to be admissible.


Evidence of Admissions

14. Persons whose admissions are admissible in evidence against party.
15. Admissions made during continuance of state of facts.
16. Admission made without prejudice.
17. Admission made under duress.
18. Admission made with reference to rights or liabilities.
19. Proof by formal admission in criminal proceedings.

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Evidence of Confessions

20. Admissibility of confessions.
21. Evidence of confession made under examination, on oath or in judicial proceeding

admissible.


Evidence of Opinions

22. Opinion of experts admissible on subject requiring expert knowledge.
23. Expert may refer to books or writings.
24. Opinion of person acquainted with handwriting of another.
25. What constitutes acquaintance with handwriting.
26. Admissibility of certain expressions of non expert opinion.
27. Evidence of reputation admissible in questions of general custom or right.
28. Evidence of reputation admissible in questions of pedigree.


Evidence of Character

29. Evidence of character, when admissible in criminal proceedings.
30. Special rules with reference to previous convictions.
31. Evidence of good character, when admissible in civil proceedings.
32. Evidence of bad character, when admissible in civil proceedings.
33. Evidence tending to impeach character of witness.
34. Restriction on evidence at trials for rape, etc.
35. Application of section 34 to preliminary inquiries, court-martial and summary trials.
36. Evidence of character must be general.


PART III
ORAL AND DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE

Oral Evidence — Generally

37. Oral evidence must be direct.
38. Hearsay evidence.
39. Exceptions to rule as to hearsay evidence.
40. Evidence given under section 39 may be contradicted, corroborated, impeached or

confirmed.


Documentary Evidence — Generally

41. Contents of document, how proved.
42. Meaning of primary evidence.
43. Meaning of secondary evidence.

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44. Power of court to order production of documents for purpose of primary evidence.
45. Where secondary evidence may be given by other persons.
46. Other cases in which secondary evidence admissible.
47. Notice to produce must first be given.
48. Primary evidence shall be given.
49. Mode of enforcing rule as to primary evidence.
50. Document required to be attested, how proved.
51. Proof of handwriting of attesting witness, when sufficient.
52. Admission by party to document sufficient evidence as against such party.
53. When other evidence admissible.
54. Proof of documents not required to be attested.
55. Proof of signature or handwriting of document.
56. Signature or writing, how proved.
57. Prints from films of Government documents.


Oral and Documentary Evidence — Civil Proceedings

58. Admissibility of out-of-court statements as evidence of facts stated.
59. Witness’s previous statement, if proved, to be evidence of facts stated.
60. Admissibility of certain records as evidence of facts stated.
61. Admissibility of statements produced by computers.
62. Provisions supplementary to sections 58 to 61.
63. Admissibility of evidence as to credibility of maker, etc., of statement admitted under

section 58 or section 60.
64. Rules of court.
65. Application of sections 58 to 60 and 62 to 64 to statements of opinion.


Documentary Evidence — Criminal Proceedings

66. Evidence from documentary records.
67. Evidence from computer records.
68. Provisions supplementary to sections 66 and 67.


Exclusion of Oral by Documentary Evidence

69. Oral evidence inadmissible of contents or terms of official proceeding, contract, etc.,

required to be in writing and reduced to writing.
70. Oral evidence inadmissible to vary terms of contract, etc., reduced to writing.
71. Exclusion of evidence to explain or amend ambiguous document.
72. Exclusion of evidence against application of document to existing facts.
73. Evidence as to document unmeaning in reference to existing facts.
74. Evidence as to application of language which can apply to one only of several persons.

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75. Evidence as to application of language to one of two sets of facts.
76. Evidence as to meaning of illegible characters, etc.
77. Evidence may be given of agreement varying terms of document.
78. Construction of wills


PART IV
JUDICIAL NOTICE, BURDEN OF PROOF AND

PRESUMPTIONS

Judicial Notice

79. Judicial notice.
80. Facts of which judicial notice taken.
81. Facts admitted need not be proved.


The Burden of Proof

82. Burden of proof.
83. General rule as to burden of proof at commencement of proceeding.
84. Burden of proof of particular fact.
85. Burden of proof of fact necessary to enable other facts to be proved.
86. Burden of negativing exception in criminal statute.
87. Burden of proof of continuance of certain relationship.
88. Burden of proof of ownership
89. Burden of proof between person in relationship of confidence.


General Presumptions

90. Presumption of regularity of official and judicial acts.
91. Presumption of guilt of person found in possession of property recently stolen.
92. Presumption of the continuance of life.
93. Presumption of death where person not heard of for seven years.
94. Presumption of marriage from cohabitation.
95. Presumption of validity of marriage shown have been celebrated
96. Presumption of legitimacy of offspring.
97. Where presumptions conflicting, question of fact for court.


Presumptions as to Documents

98. Presumption of authenticity of document admissible in evidence on proof that certain

prescribed conditions are complied with.
99. Presumption of authenticity of judicial record purporting to be signed by judge or

magistrate.
100. Presumption of genuineness of certain documents.

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101. Presumption of genuineness of book containing laws or reports of judicial decisions.
102. Presumption of authenticity of power of attorney.
103. Presumption as to authorship and date of books, maps, etc.
104. Presumption of accuracy of telegraphic message.
105. Presumption as to validity of document called for and not produced.
106. Presumption of genuineness and validity of document 30 years old produced from proper

custody.
107. Meaning of proper custody.
108. Presumption as to date and order of execution of documents.
109. Presumption as to execution of deed.
110. Presumption as to alterations and interlineations of documents.
111. Position of person producing document appearing to be altered in material particular.


PART V
PUBLIC DOCUMENTS


112. Public documents.
113. Meaning of certified copy.
114. Duty of custodian of public documents to furnish certified copy.
115. Special methods of proving certain public documents.
116. Previous convictions, how proved.


PART VI
JUDGMENTS


117. Meaning of judgment.
118. Effect of judgment.
119. Effect in evidence of judgment of court in exercise of probate, matrimonial, admiralty or

bankruptcy jurisdiction.
120. Judgment conclusive proof of facts therein stated in favour of court delivering it.
121. Judgment conclusive as to issues decided between parties.
122. Proof by party against whom any judgment is offered in evidence.
123. Convictions as evidence in civil proceedings.
124. Findings of adultery and paternity as evidence in civil proceedings.
125. Conclusiveness of convictions for purposes of defamation actions.


PART VII
JUDICIAL PROCEDURE

Oaths and Affirmations

126. All evidence to be given on oath.
127. Court to administer oath.
128. Form of oath to be administered.
129. Solemn affirmation permitted.

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Competency of Witnesses

130. Who may testify.
131. Dumb witnesses.


Privileges of Witnesses as to Certain Questions

132. Judges and magistrates.
133. Official communications.
134. Information as to commission of offences.
135. Professional communications.
136. Confidential communications with legal advisers.
137. Communications during marriage.
138. Witness not compelled to answer certain questions.


Number of Witnesses

139. Corroboration of evidence in actions for breach of promise of marriage.
140. Number of witnesses or corroboration in trial for perjury.
141. Savings.


Examination and Cross-Examination of Witnesses

142. Types of examination.
143. Order of examination.
144. Examination and cross-examination.
145. Re-examination.
146. Re-calling of witnesses.
147. Cross-examination as to previous statements in writing.
148. Questioning a witness as to conviction of an offence.
149. Questions lawful in cross-examination.
150. When a witness may be contradicted.
151. Adverse witness.
152. Impeaching credit of witness.
153. Person called to produce document.


Leading Questions

154. Leading questions.
155. When leading questions shall not be asked.
156. When court may permit leading questions to be asked.
157. When leading questions may be asked.
158. When court may prohibit leading questions.

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Refreshing Memory

159. When witness may use own writing.
160. When witness may use another’s writing.
161. When witness may use copy of document.
162. Experts may refer to treatises.
163. Rights of adverse party.


Production of Documents

164. Document called for and produced on notice.
165. Document called for and refused on notice.
166. Production of document.
167. Court may inspect document.


General Powers of the Court

168. Court’s power to put questions.
169. Power of court to compel person present in court to give evidence.
170. Power of court to inspect.


PART VIII
EVIDENCE BY PERSONS CHARGED WITH OFFENCES AND

THEIR HUSBANDS OR WIVES

171. Competency of witnesses in criminal cases.
172. Cross-examination of a person charged and called as a witness.
173. Time for taking accused person’s evidence.
174. Right of reply.
175. Calling of husband or wife in certain cases.
176. Calling of husband or wife on trial of civil right.


PART IX
MISCELLANEOUS


177. Banker’s book.
178. Exclusion of unfair evidence.






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CHAPTER 65

EVIDENCE

An Act to consolidate with amendments certain written
laws relating to the law of evidence and for connected
purposes.

[Assent 4th March, 1996]
[Commencement 1st June, 1996]

PART I
PRELIMINARY

1. This Act may be cited as the Evidence Act.
2. In this Act —
“admission” means any statement relative to any fact

in issue tending to the prejudice of the person
making it with reference to such fact, or to the
prejudice of some person who is responsible for
his statement;

“computer” has the meaning assigned to it by
subsection (6) of section 61;

“confession” has the meaning assigned to it by
subsection (5) of section 20;

“court” includes all Justices of the Supreme Court
and all magistrates and all persons having by
law or by the consent of parties authority to take
evidence;

“document” includes, in addition to a document in
writing —

(a) any map, plan, graph or drawing;
(b) any photograph;
(c) any disc, tape, sound track or other device in

which sounds or other data (not being visual
images) are embodied so as to be capable (with
or without the aid of some other equipment) of
being reproduced therefrom; and

4 of 1996
14 of 2000
42 of 2000
6 of 2006

Short title.

Interpretation.

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(d) any film, negative, tape or other device in which
one or more visual images are embodied so as to
be capable (with or without the aid of some
other equipment) of being reproduced
therefrom;

“fact in issue” means any fact as to which in the
course of any proceeding it becomes material
for the court to enquire, in order to ascertain the
respective rights and liabilities of the parties or
for any purpose incidental thereto;

“film” has the meaning assigned to it by subsection
(6) of section 57.

3. Nothing in this Act shall be deemed to render
inadmissible any evidence which is admissible under any
other Act.

PART II
ADMISSIBILITY OF EVIDENCE

Evidence Generally
4. In any proceeding evidence may be given of

facts relevant to any fact in issue, including —
(a) any fact which is so closely connected with any

fact in issue as to form in the opinion of the
court part of the same transaction, whether it
occurred at the same time and place or at some
different time and place;

(b) any fact which is the occasion, cause or effect,
immediate or otherwise of any fact in issue;

(c) any fact which explains the circumstances under
which any fact in issue is said to have happened,
or which afforded an opportunity for its
occurrence, or which fixes or helps to fix the
time or place of its occurrence;

(d) any fact which is consistent or inconsistent with
any fact in issue or which supports, rebuts,
qualifies or explains an inference suggested by
any fact in issue;

(e) any fact which shows or constitutes a motive or
preparation for any fact in issue;

Evidence
admissible under
other Acts.

Facts of which
evidence may be
given.

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(f) any fact or thing tending to identify any person
or thing whose identity is a fact in issue;

(g) any fact may assist the court or the jury in
assessing the damages or penalty in cases in
which such assessment is necessary.

5. Where there is evidence from which an inference
can be drawn that two or more persons have conspired
together to commit an offence or an actionable wrong,
evidence may be given against each of the persons of
anything said, done or written by any one of them in the
execution or furtherance of their common purpose.

6. Where there is a question whether a particular
act was done, the doing or existence of which is relevant to
a fact in issue evidence may be given of the existence of
any course of business according to which it naturally
might or would have been done.

7. (1) This section applies in relation to evidence in
a criminal proceeding adduced by the prosecutor.

(2) Evidence that the accused person did or could
have done an act or had or could have had a particular state
of mind, being an act or state of mind that is similar to an
act or state of mind the doing or existence of which is a
fact in issue, is not admissible unless —

(a) the existence of that fact in issue is substantially
in dispute in the proceeding; and

(b) the evidence has substantial probative value.
(3) In determining whether the evidence has sub-

stantial probative value, the matters that the court shall
have regard to include —

(a) the nature and extent of the similarity;
(b) the extent to which the act or state of mind to

which the evidence relates is unusual;
(c) in the case of evidence of a state of mind, the

extent to which the state of mind is unusual or
occurs infrequently; and

(d) in the case of evidence of an act —
(i) the likelihood that the accused person

would have repeated the act;

Evidence against
conspirators.

Evidence of
course of
business.

Evidence of series
of acts to show
knowledge or
intention.

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(ii) the number of times on which similar acts
have been done; and

(iii) the period that has elapsed between the
time when the act was done and the time
when the accused person is alleged to have
done the act that the evidence is adduced
to prove.

8. (1) Where any person who has been previously
convicted of any offence involving fraud or dishonesty, is
found in the possession of stolen goods, evidence of such
previous conviction shall be admissible as evidence of his
knowledge that such goods have been stolen, and in any
proceedings that may be taken against him as receiver of
stolen goods, or otherwise, in relation to his having been
found in possession of such goods, proof may be given of
his previous conviction before evidence is given of his
having been found in possession of such stolen goods.

(2) Not less than seven days’ notice shall be given
to such person that proof is intended to be given of his
previous conviction.

9. Where proceedings are taken against any person
for having in his possession stolen goods, evidence may be
given that there were found in the possession of such
person other goods stolen within the preceding period of
twelve months, and such evidence may be taken into
consideration for the purpose of proving that such person
knew that the goods which form the subject of the
proceedings against him, had been stolen.

10. Where the court has to enquire as to the
existence of any intention, motive, state of feeling or state
of mind of any person, evidence may not be given to show
that such intention, motive, state of feeling, or state of
mind existed generally but only that it existed with
reference to the matter in question.

11. Evidence may be given of historical books and
records and contents of maps or charts generally offered
for public sale or prepared under the authority of
Government with reference to matters of general informa-
tion therein contained.

Special rules in
case of persons
found in pos-
session of stolen
goods — evi-
dence of previous
conviction.

Evidence of
possession of
other goods
stolen within
previous year.

Evidence of
intention,
motive, etc.

Evidence of
historical books,
maps, etc.

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12. (1) When either party proposes to give evidence
of any fact, the court may ask the party proposing to give
evidence, in what manner the alleged fact, if proved, would
be relevant to the fact in issue before the court and the
court shall admit the evidence if it thinks that the fact, if
proved, would be so relevant, and not otherwise.

(2) Any fact of which evidence is admissible under
the provisions of this Act shall be deemed to be relevant to
the fact in issue before the court.

13. If the admissibility in evidence of one alleged
fact depends upon another alleged fact being first proved
the court may, in its discretion, either permit evidence of
the first fact to be given before the second fact is proved, or
require evidence to be given of the second fact before
evidence is given of the first fact.

Evidence of Admissions
14. Evidence may be given against any party to a

civil proceeding of any admission —
(a) by such party;
(b) by any person who in the opinion of the court is

in the circumstances of the case expressly or
impliedly authorised to make such admission on
behalf of such party;

(c) by any person who though not nominally a party
to the proceeding, is for the purpose of the
proceeding to be regarded as identified in
interest with such party;

(d) by any person jointly interested with such party
in the subject matter of the proceeding;

(e) by any person who with reference to the subject
matter of the proceeding is privy in estate,
blood, representation or law to such party;

(f) by any person to whom such party has expressly
referred the other party for information with
reference to the matter in dispute.

15. (1) No evidence shall be given of any admission
made by a party suing or sued as a trustee, executor,
guardian, agent or in any other representative capacity
unless the said admission was made while such party held
such representative capacity.

Power of court to
disallow evidence
unless shown to
be admissible.

Discretion of
court as to
manner in which
evidence may be
shown to be
admissible.

Persons whose
admissions are
admissible in
evidence against
party.

Admissions made
during
continuance of
state of facts.

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(2) No evidence shall be given of any admission
made by a person interested in the proceeding, or by a
privy to any party thereto unless it was made during the
continuance of such interest or privity.

16. No evidence shall be given in any civil
proceeding of any admission which was made upon an
express condition that it should be without prejudice to the
rights of the party making it, or in circumstances from
which the court can infer that the parties agreed together
that evidence should not be given.

17. No evidence shall be given of any admission
which was made under duress.

18. Where the question at issue is the respective
rights and liabilities of a party and some person who is not
a party to the suit, evidence may be given against any such
party of any admission by such other person with reference
to such rights or liabilities:

Provided that such admission was made during the
continuance of such rights or liabilities.

19. (1) Subject to the provisions of this section, any
fact of which oral evidence may be given in any criminal
proceedings may be admitted for the purpose of those
proceedings by or on behalf of the prosecutor or the
accused person, and the admission by any party of any
such fact under this section shall as against that party be
conclusive evidence in those proceedings of the fact
admitted.

(2) An admission under this section —
(a) may be made before or at the proceedings;
(b) if made otherwise than in court shall be in

writing;
(c) if made in writing by an individual, shall purport

to be signed by the person making it and, if so
made by a body corporate, shall purport to be
signed by a director or manager, or the secretary
or clerk, or some other similar officer of the body
corporate;

Admission made
without
prejudice.

Admission made
under duress.

Admission made
with reference to
rights or
liabilities.

Proof by formal
admission in
criminal
proceedings.

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(d) if made on behalf of an accused person who is
an individual, shall be made by his counsel and
attorney;

(e) if made at any stage before the trial by an
accused person who is an individual, must be
approved by his counsel and attorney (whether
at the time it was made or subsequently) before
or at the proceedings in question.

(3) An admission under this section for the purpose
of proceedings relating to any matter shall be treated as an
admission for the purpose of any subsequent criminal
proceedings relating to that matter (including any appeal or
retrial).

(4) An admission under this section may with the
leave of the court be withdrawn in the proceedings for the
purpose of which it is made or any subsequent criminal
proceedings relating to the same matter.

Evidence of Confessions
20. (1) In any proceedings a confession made by an

accused person may be given in evidence against him in so
far as it is relevant to any fact in issue in the proceedings
and is not excluded by the court in pursuance of this
section.

(2) If, in any proceedings where the prosecution
proposes to give in evidence a confession made by an
accused person, it is represented to the court that the
confession —

(a) was or may have been obtained by oppression of
the person who made it; or

(b) is rendered unreliable by reason of anything said
or done or omitted to be said or done in the
circumstances existing at the time, the court shall
not allow the confession to be given in evidence
against him except in so far as the prosecution
proves to the court beyond reasonable doubt
that the confession (notwithstanding that it may
be true) was not obtained as aforesaid.

Admissibility of
confessions.

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(3) In any proceedings where the prosecution pro-
poses to give in evidence a confession made by an accused
person, the court may of its own motion require the
prosecution, as a condition of allowing it to do so, to prove
that the confession was not obtained as mentioned in
subsection (2).

(4) The fact that a confession is wholly or partly
excluded in pursuance of this section shall not affect the
admissibility in evidence of any facts discovered as a result
of the confession and of so much of the confession as
relates thereto.

(5) In this Act —
“confession” includes any statement wholly or partly

adverse to the person who made it, whether made to a
person in authority or not and whether made in words or
otherwise;

“oppression” includes torture, inhuman or degrading
treatment, and the use of threat of violence (whether or not
amounting to torture).

21. (1) Subject to subsection (2) and to any other
law to the contrary, it shall be no objection to the
admissibility in evidence of a confession that it was made
by a person under examination, on oath or in a judicial
proceeding.

(2) If in the course of such examination he shall
have refused to answer any question and shall have been
improperly compelled to do so, evidence shall not be given
of the answer to such question.

Evidence of Opinions
22. Where the court has to form an opinion on the

identity or genuineness of handwriting, or upon a point of
foreign law, or of science, art, trade, manufacture or any
other subject requiring special skill or knowledge, evidence
may be given of the opinion of persons who in the opinion
of the court are experts in such subjects and of any facts
which support or are inconsistent with such opinions.

23. Evidence may not be given in such cases of the
contents of books or writings, but an expert in giving his
opinion may refer to books or writings and the court may
consider and construe such books and writings in
conjunction with his evidence.

Evidence of
confession made
under
examination, on
oath or in
judicial
proceeding
admissible.

Opinion of
experts
admissible on
subject requiring
expert
knowledge.

Expert may refer
to books or
writings.

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24. Where the court has to form an opinion as to the
person by whom any document was written or signed,
evidence may be given of the opinion of any person
acquainted with the handwriting of the person by whom it
is alleged to be written or signed.

25. A person shall be deemed to be acquainted with
the handwriting of another person when he has seen that
person write, or when he has received documents
purporting to be written by that person in answer to
documents written by himself or under his authority and
addressed to that person, or when in the ordinary course of
business, documents purporting to be written by that
person have been habitually submitted to him.

26. (1) Where a person is called as a witness in any
civil proceedings, a statement of opinion by him on any
relevant matter on which he is not qualified to give expert
evidence, if made as a way of conveying relevant facts
personally perceived by him, is admissible as evidence of
what he perceived.

(2) In this section “relevant matter” includes an
issue in the proceedings in question.

27. Where the court has to form an opinion as to the
existence of any general custom or right, evidence may be
given of general reputation with reference to such custom
or right among persons who would be likely to know of its
existence.

28. When the court has to form an opinion as to the
relationship of one person to another, evidence may be
giver of general reputation with reference to such
relationship among persons who would be likely to know
of its existence.

Evidence of Character
29. In criminal proceedings evidence may be given

of the good character of the accused person, but evidence
may not be given of his bad character, unless and with
leave of the court witnesses have been called or questions
have been asked to show that he bears a good character.

Opinion of
person
acquainted with
handwriting of
another.

What constitutes
acquaintance
with handwriting.

Admissibility of
certain
expressions of
non expert
opinion.

Evidence of
reputation
admissible in
questions of
general custom
or right.

Evidence of
reputation
admissible in
questions of
pedigree.

Evidence of
character, when
admissible in
criminal
proceedings.

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30. In the following cases, that is to say —
(a) where a person is on trial for a felony not

punishable with death, who has been previously
convicted of any felony;

(b) where a person is on trial for stealing, or for any
offence declared to be punishable as stealing or
for false pretences of for receiving stolen
property, or for any other offence involving
fraud, who has been previously convicted of any
felony, misdemeanour or offence punishable
upon summary conviction;

(c) where a person is on trial for any offence
relating to the coinage who has been previously
convicted of any such offence,

if the accused person calls witnesses or asks questions to
show that he bears a good character, with leave of the
Court evidence may be given of such previous conviction
or convictions.

31. In civil proceedings evidence may not be
given that a person bears a good character in any respect
unless —

(a) the character of such person in such respect is a
fact in issue;

(b) evidence has already been given to show that
such person bears a bad character in such
respect.

32. In civil proceedings evidence may not be given
that a person bears a bad character in any respect unless —

(a) the character of such person in such respect is a
fact in issue;

(b) damages are claimed for any wrong done to or
in connection with such person and the evidence
is tendered with a view to the reduction of such
damages.

33. Evidence may be given in both civil and criminal
proceedings of the bad character of any person called as a
witness in order to impeach his credit as a witness.

Special rules with
reference to
previous
convictions.

Evidence of good
character, when
admissible in civil
proceedings.

Evidence of bad
character, when
admissible in civil
proceedings.

Evidence tending
to impeach
character of
witness.

EVIDENCE [CH.65 – 19



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[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

34. (1) If at a trial any person is for the time being
charged with a rape offence to which he pleads not guilty,
then, except with the leave of the court, no evidence shall
be adduced nor shall any question be asked at the trial, by
or on behalf of any accused person about any sexual
experience of a complainant with a person other than that
accused person.

(2) The court shall not give leave in pursuance of
subsection (1) for any evidence or question except on an
application made to it in the absence of the jury by or on
behalf of an accused person; and on such an application the
court shall give leave if, and only if, it is satisfied that it
would be unfair to that accused person to refuse to allow
the evidence to be adduced or the question to be asked.

(3) In subsection (1) “complainant” means a person
upon whom, in a charge of a rape offence to which the trial
in question relates, it is alleged that a rape offence was
committed, attempted or proposed.

(4) Nothing in this section shall authorise evidence
to be adduced or a question to be asked which cannot be
adduced or asked apart from this section.

35. (1) Where a magistrates’ court is conducting a
preliminary inquiry into a rape offence, then, except with
leave of the court, evidence shall not be adduced and a
question shall not be asked at the inquiry which, if the
inquiry were a trial at which a person is charged as
mentioned in subsection (1) of section 34 and the accused
person at the inquiry were charged at the trial with the
offences of which he is accused at the inquiry, could not be
adduced or asked without leave in pursuance of that
section.

(2) On an application for leave in pursuance of
subsection (1) for any evidence or question the court
shall —

(a) refuse leave unless the court is satisfied that leave
in respect of the evidence or question would be
likely to be given at a relevant trial; and

(b) give leave if the court is so satisfied.

Restriction on
evidence at trials
for rape, etc.

Application of
section 34 to
preliminary
inquiries, court-
martial and
summary trials.

CH.65 – 20] EVIDENCE





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

(3) Where a person charged with a rape offence is
tried for that offence, either by court-martial or summarily
before a magistrate’s court or a juvenile court, section 34
shall have effect in relation to the trial as if the words “in
the absence of the jury” in subsection (2) were omitted.

(4) In this section and in section 34 “rape offence”
means any offence under sections 6 and 10 to 12 of the
Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Act, 1991 any
attempt to commit any such offence, and any offence
constituted pursuant to section 85 of the Penal Code in
relation to, and any attempt to commit, an offence under
any of those sections.

36. Subject to section 34, evidence of character shall
be confined to general reputation only, and shall not relate
to particular acts of good or bad conduct.

PART III
ORAL AND DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE

Oral Evidence — Generally
37. Oral evidence shall, in all cases whatever, be

direct, that is to say —
(a) if it refers to a fact which could be seen, it must

be the evidence of a witness who says he saw
the fact;

(b) if it refers to a fact which could be heard, it must
be the evidence of a witness who says he heard
the fact;

(c) if it refers to a fact which could be perceived by
any other sense or in any other manner, it must
be the evidence of a witness who says he
perceived that fact by that sense or in any other
manner;

(d) if it refers to an opinion, or to the grounds on
which that opinion is held, it must be the
evidence of the person who holds that opinion on
those grounds.

Ch. 99.

Ch. 84.

Evidence of
character must be
general.

Oral evidence
must be direct.

EVIDENCE [CH.65 – 21



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[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

38. When a fact is proved by evidence —
(a) that a statement as to the fact was made by any

person;
(b) that a statement as to the fact is contained or

recorded in any book, document or other record,
the fact is said to be proved by hearsay evidence.

39. (1) Subject to subsection (2) and to this Act,
hearsay evidence shall not be admitted in evidence.

(2) Hearsay evidence may be admitted —
(a) where the statement is a necessary part of any

fact or transaction which is being investigated
by the court;

(b) where the knowledge, intention, motive, state of
feeling, state of mind or state of body of any
person is a fact in issue and the statement proves
or disproves the said knowledge, intention,
motive, state of feeling, state of mind or state of
body;

(c) where the statement is an admission or
confession made by or to the prejudice of the
party against whom it is sought to be proved but
subject to the provisions of sections 14 to 19;

(d) where the statement was made in the presence
and in the hearing of the person against whom
the evidence is tendered, and where such person
had an opportunity of replying to such
statement;

(e) where the statement is contained in any official
record, book or register, kept for the information
of the Crown or for public reference and was
made as the result of inquiry by a public servant
in discharge of a duty enjoined by the law of the
country in which such official record, book or
register is kept;

(f) where the statement was made by a person since
dead as to the cause of his death or as to any of
the circumstances of the transaction resulting in
his death in cases in which the person’s death is
the subject of a criminal charge:

Hearsay
evidence.

Exceptions to
rule as to hearsay
evidence.

CH.65 – 22] EVIDENCE





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

Provided —
(i) that the person at the time he made the

statement was in actual danger of death
and in the expectation of death, and

(ii) that the statement was of such a nature that
it could have been given in evidence in
legal proceedings if the person making it
had survived;

(g) where the statement was made by a person,
since dead, in the ordinary course of business, in
discharge of a duty incumbent upon such person
for the purpose of recording or reporting
something which it was the duty of the person to
perform, at or near the time when the matter
stated occurred and of his own knowledge:

Provided that evidence of such statement shall
not be admitted in order to prove any fact
mentioned therein which it was not the duty of
the person making it to embody in such
statement;

(h) (i) where the statement was made by a person
since dead, whether by himself or by some
person shown to be duly authorised in that
behalf, and was made against his pecuniary
or proprietary interest at the time he made
it, and related to the circumstances of
which he had special knowledge:

Provided that the person making it had
no interest to misrepresent the matter
stated,

(ii) a statement charging a person with a
liability in one part of it is a statement
against his pecuniary or proprietary
interest even though in another part, it may
discharge him from such liability;

(i) where the statement was made by a person,
since dead, and gives the opinion of such person
as to the existence of any public right or custom,
or matter of public or general interest, of the
existence of which, if it existed, he would have
been likely to be aware, and when the statement
was made before any controversy as to the right,
custom or matter, had arisen:

EVIDENCE [CH.65 – 23





LRO 1/2008 STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

(j) where the statement is tendered in proceedings
in which the existence of any relationship of
blood or marriage is a fact in issue and where
the statement related to the existence of the
relationship and is made by a person since dead
and shown to the satisfaction of the court to be
himself related by blood or marriage to the
parties thereto:

Provided that the statement was made before
the question in dispute had arisen;

(k) where the statement was made by a deceased
testator, whether before or after the making of
his will, as to his testamentary intentions or as to
the contents of his will —

(i) when the will has been lost and there is a
question as to what were its contents;

(ii) when the question is whether an existing
will is genuine or was improperly obtained;

(iii) when the question is whether any and which
of more existing documents than one con-
stitute the will;

(l) where the statement consists of evidence given
by a witness in any previous civil proceeding, or
in a previous stage of the same civil proceedings
when the witness is dead, has become insane, is
so ill that he will probably never be able to
travel, or is out of the jurisdiction of the court:

Provided —
(i) that the person against whom the evidence

is tendered had the right and the opportu-
nity to cross-examine the person giving
the evidence;

(ii) that the proceeding was between the same
parties or their representatives in interest;

(iii) that the questions at issue are substantially
the same;

(m) where in a criminal trial the statement consists
of a deposition that would be admissible in
accordance with section 168 of the Criminal
Procedure Code Act.

6 of 2006, s. 30.


Ch. 91.

CH.65 – 24] EVIDENCE





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS LRO 1/2008

40. Whenever any statement admissible under
section 39 is proved, all matters may be proved, either in
order to contradict or to corroborate it, or in order to
impeach or confirm the credit of the person by whom it
was made, which might have been proved if that person
had been called as a witness and had denied upon cross-
examination the truth of the matter suggested.

Documentary Evidence — Generally
41. The contents of documents may be proved either

by primary or by secondary evidence.
42. Primary evidence means the document itself

produced for the inspection of the court —
(a) where a document is executed in several parts,

each part is primary evidence of the document;
(b) where a document is executed in counterpart,

each counterpart being executed by one or some
of the parties only, each counterpart is primary
evidence as against the parties executing it;

(c) where a number of documents are all made by
printing, lithography, photography or other
uniform process, each is primary evidence of the
contents of the rest; but where they are all copies
of a common original they are not primary
evidence of the contents of the original.

43. Secondary evidence includes —
(a) certified copies given under the provisions

hereinafter contained;
(b) copies made from the original by mechanical

processes which ensure accuracy of the copy,
and copies compared with such copies;

(c) copies made from or compared with the original;
(d) counterparts of documents as against the parties

who did not execute them;
(e) oral accounts of the contents of a document

given by some person who has himself seen it.

Evidence given
under section 39
may be
contradicted,
corroborated,
impeached or
confirmed.

Contents of
document, how
proved.
Meaning of
primary
evidence.

Meaning of
secondary
evidence.

EVIDENCE [CH.65 – 25



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[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

44. The court may order any person summoned
before it in the course of any proceeding to produce for the
purpose of primary evidence any document in his
possession or power, except in the following cases —

(a) where the document is a document of title and
the title of the person may be affected by the
production of it;

(b) where the production of the document may tend
to expose the person producing it or the husband
or wife of such person to a criminal charge or to
any penalty or forfeiture;

(c) where he holds the documents as mortgagee or
pledgee;

(d) where he holds a lien on the document as against
the person claiming its production;

(e) where he holds the document under the authority
of some person entitled to refuse its production,
and such person has refused to allow it to be
produced;

(f) where the document is a communication made
by a wife to her husband, or by a husband to his
wife during the continuance of their marriage.

45. Where a person has been subpoenaed to produce
a document, or being called as a witness has been asked to
produce a document and has objected to do so on one of
the grounds in section 44 and his objection has been upheld
by the court, secondary evidence may be given of its
existence, conditions or contents by another person except
in cases falling under paragraph (f), but the person whose
objection has been so upheld by the court shall not be
asked any questions as to the contents of the document.

46. (1) Secondary evidence may also be given of the
existence, conditions or contents of a document admissible
in evidence in the following cases —

(a) where the original is shown or appears to be in
the possession or power of the person against
whom the document is sought to be proved, and
when after the notice mentioned in section 47 he
does not produce it;

Power of court to
order production
of documents for
purpose of
primary
evidence.

Where secondary
evidence may be
given by other
persons.

Other cases in
which secondary
evidence
admissible.

CH.65 – 26] EVIDENCE





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

(b) when the existence, condition or contents of the
original have been proved to be admitted by the
person against whom it is sought to be proved or
by his representative in interest;

(c) when there is satisfactory evidence that the
original has been lost or destroyed or when after
proper search there is reasonable ground for
believing that the original has been lost or
destroyed;

(d) when the original is of such a nature as not to be
easily movable, or is in a country or place from
which its removal is not by law permissible;

(e) when the original is a public document within
the meaning of section 112;

(f) when the original is a document of which a
certified copy is permitted by this or by any
other Act to be given in evidence;

(g) when the original consists of numerous accounts
or other documents which cannot conveniently
be examined in court and the fact to be proved is
the general result of the whole collection.

(2) In cases falling under paragraph (a), (c) or (d) of
subsection (1) any secondary evidence of the contents of
the document is admissible.

(3) In cases falling under paragraph (e) or (f) of
subsection (1) a certified copy of the document but no
other kind of secondary evidence is admissible.

(4) In cases falling under paragraph (g) of
subsection (1) evidence may be given as to the general
result of the documents by any person who has examined
them and who is skilled in the examination of such
documents.

47. (1) Secondary evidence of the contents of the
documents referred to in paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of
section 46 shall not be given unless the party proposing to
give the secondary evidence has previously given to the
party in whose possession or power the document is, or his
attorney, such notice to produce it as the court considers
reasonable in the circumstances of the case.

(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), notice shall not be
required in order to render secondary evidence admissible
in any of the following cases —

Notice to
produce must
first be given.

EVIDENCE [CH.65 – 27



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[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

(a) when the document to be proved is itself a notice;
(b) when from the nature of the case the adverse

party must know that he will be required to
produce it;

(c) when it appears or is proved that the adverse
party has obtained possession of the original by
fraud or force;

(d) when the adverse party or his agent has the
original in court; or

(e) when the adverse party or his agent has admitted
the loss of the document.

48. Subject to this Act, the existence, condition, or
contents of a document shall be proved by primary
evidence.

49. Any witness may be asked whilst under examina-
tion whether any contract, grant or other disposition of
property, as to which he is giving evidence, was not
contained in a document, and if he says that it was, or if he
is about to make any statement as to the contents of any
document which, in the opinion of the court, ought to be
produced, the adverse party may object to such evidence
being given until such document is produced, or until facts
have been proved which entitled the party who called the
witness to give secondary evidence of it.

50. If a document is required by law to be attested, it
shall not be used as evidence until one attesting witness at
least has been called for the purpose of proving its
execution, if there be an attesting witness alive, and subject
to the jurisdiction of the court and capable of giving
evidence, but the calling of an attesting witness shall not be
excused on the ground that the document has been lost or
destroyed.

51. If no such attesting witness can be found or if the
document purports to have been executed in a Common-
wealth country, it must be proved that the attestation of
one attesting witness at least is in his handwriting, and that
the signature of the person executing the document is in
the handwriting of that person.

Primary evidence
shall be given.

Mode of
enforcing rule as
to primary
evidence.

Document
required to be
attested, how
proved.

Proof of
handwriting of
attesting witness,
when sufficient.

CH.65 – 28] EVIDENCE





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

52. The admission of a party to an attested
document of its execution by himself shall be sufficient
proof of its execution as against him though it be a
document required by law to be attested.

53. If the attesting witness denies or does not
recollect the execution of the document its execution may
be proved by other evidence.

54. An attested document not required by law to be
attested may be proved as if it were unattested.

55. If a document is alleged to be signed or to have
been written wholly or in part by any person, the signature
or the handwriting of so much of the document as is
alleged to be in that person’s handwriting must be proved
to being his handwriting.

56. (1) In order to ascertain whether any signature or
writing is that of the person by whom it purports to have
been written any signature or writing, admitted or proved
to the satisfaction of the court to have been written by that
person, may be compared by a witness, or by the court, or
the jury, with the one which is to be proved, although that
signature or writing has not been produced or proved for
any other purpose.

(2) The court may direct any person present in court
to write any words or figures for the purpose of enabling
the court to compare the words or figures so written with
any words or figures alleged to have been written by that
person.

57. (1) A print whether enlarged or not purporting to
be made from a film of a document in the possession of the
Government or an authorised person shall notwithstanding
anything to the contrary in this Act or any other law, be
admitted in evidence in any proceedings before a court or
tribunal as evidence of the contents of that document upon
proof that —

(a) while the document was in the custody or control
of the Government or authorised person the film
was taken in order to keep a permanent record
thereof; and

Admission by
party to
document
sufficient
evidence as
against such
party.
When other
evidence
admissible.

Proof of
documents not
required to be
attested.
Proof of
signature or
handwriting of
document.

Signature or
writing, how
proved.

Prints from films
of Government
documents.

EVIDENCE [CH.65 – 29



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[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

(b) the document photographed —
(i) was subsequently destroyed, whether delib-

erately or otherwise, or
(ii) was so damaged as to be wholly or partially

indecipherable;
(c) was lost; or
(d) has passed out of the custody or control of the

Government or authorised person.
(2) Proof —
(a) that a print was made from a film of a document

in the possession of the Government or an
authorised person; and

(b) of compliance with the conditions in subsection
(1),

may be given in respect of any document or group of
documents by a public officer having responsibility for the
film of the document, or an employee of the authorised
person having similar responsibility, as the case may be,
orally or by a certificate purporting to be signed by such
public officer, employee or person.

(3) A certificate under subsection (2) shall be
admitted in evidence in any proceedings before a court or
tribunal on its production without further proof.

(4) On the production of a certificate under
subsection (3) the court or tribunal before which it is
produced, shall, until the contrary is proved, presume —

(a) that the facts stated in the certificate relating to
the print and the compliance with the conditions
in subsection (1) are true; and

(b) that the certificate purporting to be signed by
such a public officer, an employee of an
authorised person or an authorised person as
required by subsection (2) has been signed by
him.

(5) The Attorney-General may by order declare any
person or class of persons to be authorised persons for the
purposes of this section.

(6) For the purpose of this section —
(a) “film” includes a photographic plate, micro-film

and machine-copy;

CH.65 – 30] EVIDENCE





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

(b) “machine-copy” means a copy made of a
document by any machine whereby an image of
the contents of the documents is reproduced
from surface contact with the documents or by
use of photosensitive material other than
transparent photographic film;

(c) “photograph” or any of its cognate expressions
includes a reference to “machine copy”;

(d) a reference to anything in the possession of the
Government is a reference to such in the
possession of any agency, department of
Government or of any public officer in the
course of the carrying out by him of his duties in
such agency or department.

Oral and Documentary Evidence — Civil
Proceedings

58. (1) Subject to this section and to rules of court,
in any civil proceedings hearsay evidence not falling
within section 39, shall be admissible as evidence of any
fact stated therein of which direct oral evidence would be
admissible, whether the person alleged to have made the
statement is called as a witness or not.

(2) Where in any civil proceedings a party desiring
to give a statement in evidence by virtue of this section has
called or intends to call as a witness in the proceedings the
person by whom the statement was made, the statement —

(a) shall not be given in evidence by virtue of this
section on behalf of that party without the leave
of the court; and

(b) without prejudice to paragraph (a), shall not be
given in evidence by virtue of this section on
behalf of that party before the conclusion of the
examination-in-chief of the person by whom it
was made, except —

(i) where before that person is called the court
allows evidence of the making of the
statement to be given on behalf of that
party by some other person, or

Admissibility of
out-of-court
statements as
evidence of facts
stated.

EVIDENCE [CH.65 – 31



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(ii) in so far as the court allows the person by
whom the statement was made to narrate it
in the course of his examination-in-chief
on the ground that to prevent him from
doing so would adversely affect the
intelligibility of his evidence.

(3) Where in any civil proceedings a statement
which was made otherwise than in a document is
admissible by virtue of this section, no evidence other than
direct oral evidence by the person who made the statement
or any person who heard or otherwise perceived it being
made shall be admissible for the purpose of proving it:

Provided that if the statement in question was made
by a person while giving oral evidence in some other legal
proceedings (whether civil or criminal), it may be proved
in any manner authorised by the court.

(4) If and so far as rules of court so provide,
subsection (2) shall not apply to statements (whether of
fact or opinion) contained in expert reports.

59. (1) Where in any civil proceedings —
(a) a previous inconsistent or contradictory

statement made by a person called as a witness in
those proceedings is proved by virtue of section
147 or 152; or

(b) a previous statement made by a person called as
aforesaid is proved for the purpose of rebutting a
suggestion that his evidence has been fabricated,

that statement shall by virtue of this subsection be
admissible as evidence of any fact stated therein of which
direct oral evidence by him would be admissible.

(2) Nothing in this Act shall affect any of the rules
of law relating to the circumstances in which, where a
person called as a witness in any civil proceedings is cross-
examined on a document used by him to refresh his
memory, that document may be made evidence in those
proceedings; and where a document or any part of a
document is received in evidence in any such proceedings
by virtue of any such rule of law, any statement made in
that document or part by the person using the document to
refresh his memory shall by virtue of this subsection be
admissible as evidence of any fact stated therein of which
direct oral evidence by him would be admissible.

Witness’s
previous
statement, if
proved, to be
evidence of facts
stated.

CH.65 – 32] EVIDENCE





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

60. (1) Without prejudice to section 61, in any civil
proceedings a statement contained in a document shall,
subject to this section and to rules of court, be admissible
as evidence of any fact stated therein of which direct oral
evidence would be admissible, if the document is, or forms
part of, a record compiled by a person acting under a duty
from information which was supplied by a person (whether
acting under a duty or not) who had, or may reasonably be
supposed to have had, personal knowledge of the matters
dealt with in that information and which, if not supplied by
that person to the compiler of the record directly, was
supplied by him to the compiler of the record indirectly
through one or more intermediaries each acting under a
duty; and applies also where the person compiling the
record is himself the person by whom the information is
supplied.

(2) Where in any civil proceedings a party desiring
to give a statement in evidence by virtue of this section has
called or intends to call as a witness in the proceedings the
person who originally supplied the information from
which the record containing the statement was compiled,
the statement —

(a) shall not be given in evidence by virtue of this
section on behalf of that party without the leave
of the court; and

(b) without prejudice to paragraph (a) shall not
without the leave of the court be given in
evidence by virtue of this section on behalf of
that party before the conclusion of the
examination-in-chief of the person who
originally supplied the said information.

(3) Any reference in this section to a person acting
under a duty includes a reference to a person acting in the
course of any trade, business, profession or other
occupation in which he is engaged or employed or for the
purposes of any paid or unpaid office held by him.

61. (1) In any civil proceedings a statement contained
in a document produced by a computer shall, subject to
rules of court, be admissible as evidence of any fact stated
therein of which direct oral evidence would be admissible,
if it is shown that the conditions mentioned in subsection
(2) are satisfied in relation to the statement and computer
in question.

Admissibility of
certain records as
evidence of facts
stated.

Admissibility of
statements
produced by
computers.

EVIDENCE [CH.65 – 33



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[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

(2) The said conditions are —
(a) that the document containing the statement was

produced by the computer during a period over
which the computer was used regularly to store
or process information for the purposes of any
activities regularly carried on over that period,
whether for profit or not, by any body, whether
corporate or not, or by any individual;

(b) that over that period there was regularly
supplied to the computer in the ordinary course
of those activities information of the kind
contained in the statement or of the kind from
which the information so contained is derived;

(c) that throughout the material part of that period
the computer was operating properly or, if not,
that any respect in which it was not operating
properly or was out of operation during that part
of that period was not such as to affect the
production of the document or the accuracy of
its contents; and

(d) that the information contained in the statement
reproduces or is derived from information
supplied to the computer in the ordinary course
of those activities.

(3) Where over a period the function of storing or
processing information for the purposes of any activities
regularly carried on over that period as mentioned in
paragraph (a) of subsection (2) was regularly performed by
computers, whether —

(a) by a combination of computers operating over
that period;

(b) by different computers operating in succession
over that period;

(c) by different combinations of computers
operating in succession over that period; or

(d) in any other manner involving the successive
operation over that period, in whatever order, of
one or more computers and one or more
combinations of computers,

CH.65 – 34] EVIDENCE





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

all the computers used for that purpose during that period
shall be treated for the purposes of this Act as constituting
a single computer; and references in this Act to a computer
shall be construed accordingly.

(4) In any civil proceedings where it is desired to
give a statement in evidence by virtue of this section, a
certificate doing any of the following things, that is to
say —

(a) identifying the document containing the
statement and describing the manner in which it
was produced;

(b) giving such particulars of any device involved in
the production of that document as may be
appropriate for the purpose of showing that the
document was produced by a computer;

(c) dealing with any of the matters to which the
conditions mentioned in subsection (2) relate,

and purporting to be signed by a person occupying a
responsible position in relation to the operation of the
relevant device or the management of the relevant
activities (whichever is appropriate) shall be evidence of
any matter stated in the certificate; and for the purposes of
this subsection it shall be sufficient for a matter to be stated
to the best of the knowledge and belief of the person
stating it.

(5) For the purposes of this Act —
(a) information shall be taken to be supplied to a

computer if it is supplied thereto in any
appropriate form and whether it is so supplied
directly or (with or without human intervention)
by means of any appropriate equipment;

(b) where, in the course of activities carried on by
any individual or body, information is supplied
with a view to its being stored or processed for
the purposes of those activities by a computer
operated otherwise than in the course of those
activities, that information, if duly supplied to
that computer, shall be taken to be supplied to it
in the course of those activities;

EVIDENCE [CH.65 – 35



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[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

(c) a document shall be taken to have been produced
by a computer whether it was produced by it
directly or (with or without human intervention)
by means of any appropriate equipment.

(6) Subject to subsection (3), “computer” means any
device for storing and processing information, and any
reference to information being derived from other
information is a reference to its being derived therefrom by
calculation, comparison or any other process.

62. (1) Where in any civil proceedings a statement
contained in a document is proposed to be given in
evidence by virtue of section 58, 60 or 61 it may, subject to
any rules of court, be proved by the production of that
document or (whether or not that document is still in
existence) by the production of a copy of that document, or
of the material part thereof, authenticated in such manner
as the court may approve.

(2) For the purpose of deciding whether or not a
statement is admissible in evidence by virtue of section 58,
60 or 61, the court may draw any reasonable inference
from the circumstances in which the statement was made
or otherwise came into being or from any other
circumstances, including, in the case of a statement
contained in a document, the form and contents of that
document.

(3) In estimating the weight if any, to be attached to
a statement admissible in evidence by virtue of section 58,
59, 60 or 61 regard shall be had to all the circumstances
from which any inference can reasonably be drawn as to
the accuracy or otherwise of the statement and, in
particular —

(a) in the case of a statement falling within
subsection (1) of section 58 or subsection (1) or
(2) of section 59, to the question whether or not
the statement was made contemporaneously with
the occurrence or existence of the fact stated, and
to the question whether or not the maker of the
statement had any incentive to conceal or
misrepresent the facts;

Provisions
supplementary to
sections 58 to 61.

CH.65 – 36] EVIDENCE





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

(b) in the case of a statement falling within
subsection (1) of section 60, to the question
whether or not the person who originally
supplied the information from which the record
containing the statement was compiled did so
contemporaneously with the occurrence or
existence of the facts dealt with in that
information, and to the question whether or not
that person, or any person concerned with
compiling or keeping the record containing the
statement, had any incentive to conceal or
misrepresent the facts; and

(c) in the case of a statement falling within
subsection (1) of section 61, to the question
whether or not the information which the
information contained in the statement
reproduces or is derived from was supplied to the
relevant computer, or recorded for the purpose
of being supplied thereto, contemporaneously
with the occurrence or existence of the facts dealt
with in that information, and to the question
whether or not any person concerned with the
supply of information to that computer, or with
the operation of that computer or any equipment
by means of which the document containing the
statement was produced by it, had any incentive
to conceal or misrepresent the facts.

(4) For the purpose of any written law or rule of law
or practice requiring evidence to be corroborated or
regulating the manner in which uncorroborated evidence is
to be treated —

(a) a statement which is admissible in evidence by
virtue of section 58 or 59 shall not be capable of
corroborating evidence given by the maker of
the statement; and

(b) a statement which is admissible in evidence by
virtue of section 59 shall not be capable of
corroborating evidence given by the person who
originally supplied the information from which
the record containing the statement was
compiled.

EVIDENCE [CH.65 – 37



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[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

(5) If any person in a certificate tendered in
evidence in civil proceedings by virtue of subsection (4) of
section 61 wilfully makes a statement material in those
proceedings which he knows to be false or does not believe
to be true, he is guilty of an offence and shall be liable on
summary conviction to a fine of five thousands dollars or
to imprisonment for two years, or to both.

63. (1) Subject to rules of court, where in any civil
proceedings a statement made by a person who is not
called as a witness in those proceedings is given in
evidence by virtue of section 58 —

(a) any evidence which, if that person had been so
called, would be admissible for the purpose of
destroying or supporting his credibility as a
witness shall be admissible for that purpose in
those proceedings; and

(b) evidence tending to prove that, whether before
or after he made that statement, that person
made (whether orally or in a document or
otherwise) another statement inconsistent
therewith, shall be admissible for the purpose of
showing that that person has contradicted
himself:

Provided that nothing in this subsection shall enable
evidence to be given of any matter of which, if the person
in question had been called as a witness and had denied
that matter in cross-examination, evidence could not have
been adduced by the cross-examining party.

(2) Subsection (1) shall apply in relation to a
statement given in evidence by virtue of section 60 as it
applies in relation to a statement given in evidence by
virtue of section 58, except that references to the person
who made the statement and to his making the statement
shall be construed respectively as references to the person
who originally supplied the information from which the
record containing the statement was compiled and to his
supplying that information.

(3) Subsection (1) of section 59 shall apply to any
statement proved by virtue of paragraph (b) of subsection
(1) as it applies to a previous inconsistent or contradictory
statement made by a person called as a witness which is
proved as mentioned in paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of
section 59.

Admissibility of
evidence as to
credibility of
maker, etc., of
statement
admitted under
section 58 or
section 60.

CH.65 – 38] EVIDENCE





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

64. (1) Provision shall be made by rules of court as
to the procedure which, subject to any exceptions provided
for in the rules, must be followed and the other conditions
which, subject as aforesaid, must be fulfilled before a
statement can be given in evidence in civil proceedings by
virtue of section 58, 60 or 61.

(2) Rules of court made in pursuance of subsection
(1) shall in particular, subject to such exceptions (if any) as
may be provided for in the rules —

(a) require a party to any civil proceedings who
desires to give in evidence any such statement as
is mentioned in that subsection to give to every
other party to the proceedings such notice of his
desire to do so and such particulars of or relating
to the statement as may be specified in the rules,
including particulars of such one or more of the
persons connected with the making or recording
of the statement or, in the case of a statement
falling within subsection (1) of section 61, such
one or more of the persons concerned as
mentioned in subsection (3)(c) of section 62 as
the rules may in any case require; and

(b) enable any party who receives such notice as
aforesaid by counter-notice to require any
person of whom particulars were given with the
notice to be called as a witness in the
proceedings unless that person is dead, or
beyond the seas, or unfit by reason of his bodily
or mental condition to attend as a witness, or
cannot with reasonable diligence be identified or
found, or cannot reasonably be expected (having
regard to the time which has elapsed since he
was connected or concerned as aforesaid and to
all the circumstances) to have any recollection
of matters relevant to the accuracy or otherwise
of the statement.

(3) Rules of court made in pursuance of subsection
(1) —

(a) may confer on the court in any civil proceedings
a discretion to allow a statement falling within
subsection (1) of section 58, subsection (1) of
section 60 or subsection (1) of section 61 to be
given in evidence notwithstanding that any


Rules of court.

EVIDENCE [CH.65 – 39



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[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

requirement of the rules affecting the
admissibility of that statement has not been
complied with, but except in pursuance of
paragraph (b) shall not confer on the court a
discretion to exclude such a statement where the
requirements of the rules affecting its
admissibility have been complied with;

(b) may confer on the court power, where a party to
any civil proceedings has given notice that he
desires to give in evidence —

(i) a statement falling within subsection (1) of
section 58 which was made by a person,
whether orally or in a document, in the
course of giving evidence in some other legal
proceedings (whether civil or criminal), or

(ii) a statement falling within subsection (1) of
section 60 which is contained in a record of
any direct oral evidence given in some other
legal proceedings (whether civil or criminal),

to give directions on the application of any party to
the proceedings as to whether, and if so on what
conditions, the party desiring to give the statement
in evidence will be permitted to do so and (where
applicable) as to the manner in which that
statement and any other evidence given in those
other proceedings is to be proved; and

(c) may make different provision for different
circumstances, and in particular may make
different provision with respect to statements
falling within subsection (1) of section 58,
subsection (1) of section 60 and subsection (1)
of section 61 respectively,

and any discretion conferred on the court by rules of court
made as aforesaid may be either a general discretion or a
discretion exercisable only in such circumstances as may
be specified in the rules.

(4) Rules of court may make provision for preventing
a party to any civil proceedings (subject to any exceptions
provided for in the rules) from adducing in relation to a
person who is not called as a witness in those proceedings
any evidence which could otherwise be adduced by him by


CH.65 – 40] EVIDENCE





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

virtue of section 63 unless that party has in pursuance of
the rules given in respect of that person such a counter-
notice as is mentioned in subsection (2)(b).

(5) In deciding for the purposes of any rules of court
made in pursuance of this section whether or not a person
is fit to attend as a witness, a court may act on a certificate
purporting to be a certificate of a fully registered medical
practitioner.

(6) In so far as they relate to statements (whether of
fact or opinion) contained in expert reports, rules of court
made in pursuance of subsection (1) shall not be subject to
the requirements of subsection (2).

(7) Notwithstanding any written law or rule of law
by virtue of which documents prepared for the purpose of
pending or contemplated civil proceedings or in connection
with the obtaining or giving of legal advice are in certain
circumstances privileged from disclosure, provision may
be made by rules of court —

(a) for enabling the court in any civil proceedings to
direct, with respect to medical matters or matters
of any other class which may be specified in the
direction, that the parties or some of them shall
each by such date as may be so specified (or
such later date as may be permitted or agreed in
accordance with the rules) disclose to the other
or others in the form of one or more expert
reports the expert evidence on matters of that
class which he proposes to adduce as part of his
case at the trial; and

(b) for prohibiting a party who fails to comply with
a direction given in any such proceedings under
rules of court made by virtue of paragraph (a)
from adducing in evidence by virtue of section
58, except with the leave of the court, any
statement (whether of fact or opinion) contained
in any expert report whatsoever in so far as that
statement deals with matters of any class
specified in the direction.

(8) Provision may be made by rules of court as to the
conditions subject to which oral expert evidence may be
given in civil proceedings.

EVIDENCE [CH.65 – 41



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[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

(9) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection
(8), rules of court made in pursuance of that subsection
may make provision for prohibiting a party who fails to
comply with a direction given as mentioned in subsection
(7)(b) from adducing, except with the leave of the court,
any oral expert evidence whatsoever with respect to
matters of any class specified in the direction.

(10) Any rules of court made in pursuance of
subsections (6) to (9) may make different provision for
different classes of cases, for expert reports dealing with
matters of different classes, and for other different
circumstances.

(11) References in subsections (6) to (10) to an
expert report are references to a written report by a person
dealing wholly or mainly with matters on which he is (or
would if living be) qualified to give expert evidence.

65. (1) Subject to the provisions of this section,
sections 58 to 60 and 62 to 64 shall apply in relation to
statements of opinion as they apply in relation to
statements of fact, subject to the necessary modifications
and in particular the that any reference to a fact stated in a
statement shall be construed as a reference to a matter dealt
with therein.

(2) Section 60 as applied to subsection (1), shall not
render admissible in any civil proceedings a statement of
opinion contained in a record unless that statement would
be admissible in those proceedings if made in the course of
giving oral evidence by the person who originally supplied
the information from which the record was compiled; but
where a statement of opinion contained in a record deals
with a matter on which the person who originally supplied
the information from which the record was compiled is (or
would if living be) qualified to give oral evidence, section
60, as applied by subsection (1) shall have effect in relation
to that statement as if so much of subsection (1) of section
60 as requires personal knowledge on the part of that
person were omitted.

Application of
sections 58 to 60
and 62 to 64 to
statements of
opinion.

CH.65 – 42] EVIDENCE





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

Documentary Evidence — Criminal
Proceedings

66. (1) Subject to section 67 a statement in a
document shall be admissible in any criminal proceedings
as evidence of any fact stated therein of which direct oral
evidence would be admissible if —

(a) the document is or forms part of a record
compiled by a person acting under a duty from
information supplied by a person (whether
acting under a duty or not) who had, or may
reasonably be supposed to have had, personal
knowledge of the matters dealt with in that
information; and

(b) any condition relating to the person who
supplied the information which is specified in
subsection (2) is satisfied.

(2) The conditions mentioned in paragraph (b) of
subsection (1) are —

(a) that the person who supplied the information —
(i) is dead or by reason of his bodily or mental

condition unfit to attend as a witness,
(ii) is outside The Bahamas and it is not

reasonably practicable to secure his atten-
dance, or

(iii) cannot reasonably be expected (having
regard to the time which has elapsed since
he supplied or acquired the information and
to all the circumstances) to have any
recollection of the matters dealt with in that
information;

(b) that all reasonable steps have been taken to
identify the person who supplied the information
but that he cannot be identified; and

(c) that, the identity of the person who supplied the
information being known, all reasonable steps
have been taken to find him, but that he cannot
be found.

Evidence from
documentary
records.

EVIDENCE [CH.65 – 43



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[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

(3) Subsection (1) shall apply whether the information
contained in the document was supplied directly or
indirectly but, if it was supplied indirectly, only if each
person through whom it was supplied was acting under a
duty; and applies also where the person compiling the
record is himself the person by whom the information is
supplied.

(4) Where —
(a) a document setting out the evidence which a

person could be expected to give as a witness has
been prepared for the purpose of any pending or
contemplated criminal proceedings; and

(b) the document falls within subsection (1),
a statement contained in it shall not be given in evidence
by virtue of this section without the leave of the court, and
the court shall not give leave unless it is of the opinion that
the statement ought to be admitted in the interests of justice
having regard —

(i) to the circumstances in which leave is sought
and in particular to the contents of the statement,
and

(ii) to any likelihood that the accused will be
prejudiced by its admission in the absence of the
person who supplied the information on which it
is based.

(5) Where in any criminal proceedings a statement
based on information supplied by any person is given in
evidence by virtue of this section —

(a) any evidence which, if that person had been
called as a witness, would have been admissible
as relevant to his credibility as a witness shall be
admissible for that purpose in those proceedings;

(b) evidence may, with the leave of the court, be
given of any matter which, if that person had
been called as a witness, could have been put to
him in cross-examination as relevant to his
credibility as a witness but of which evidence
could not have been adduced by the cross-
examining party; and

CH.65 – 44] EVIDENCE





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

(c) evidence tending to prove that that person has,
whether before or after supplying the
information, made a statement (whether oral or
otherwise) which is inconsistent with that
information shall be admissible for the purpose
of showing that he has contradicted himself.

(6) A statement which is admissible by virtue of this
section shall not be capable of corroborating evidence
given by the person who supplied the information on which
the statement is based.

(7) In deciding for the purposes of subsection
(2)(a)(i) whether a person is unfit to attend as a witness the
court may act on a certificate purporting to be signed by a
registered medical practitioner.

(8) Any reference in this section to a person acting
under a duty includes a reference to a person acting in the
course of any trade, business, profession or other
occupation in which he is engaged or employed or for the
purposes of any paid or unpaid office held by him.

(9) In estimating the weight, if any, to be attached to
a statement admissible in evidence by virtue of this section
regard shall be had to all the circumstances from which any
inference can reasonably be drawn as to the accuracy or
otherwise of the statement and, in particular —

(a) to the question whether or not the person who
supplied the information from which the record
containing the statement was compiled did so
contemporaneously with the occurrence or
existence of the facts dealt with in that
information; and

(b) to the question whether or not that person, or
any other person concerned with compiling or
keeping the record containing the statement, had
any incentive to conceal or misrepresent the
facts.

(10) Nothing in this section shall prejudice the
admissibility of any evidence that would be admissible
apart from this section.

EVIDENCE [CH.65 – 45



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[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

67. (1) In any criminal proceedings, a statement
contained in a document produced by a computer shall not
be admissible as evidence of any fact stated therein unless
it is shown —

(a) that there are no reasonable grounds for
believing that the statement is inaccurate
because of improper use of the computer;

(b) that at all material times the computer was
operating properly, or if not, that any respect in
which it was not operating properly or was out
of operation was not such as to affect the
production of the document or the accuracy of
its contents; and

(c) that any relevant conditions specified in rules of
court under subsection (2) are satisfied.

(2) Provision may be made by rules of court
requiring that in any criminal proceedings where it is
desired to give a statement in evidence by virtue of this
section such information concerning the statement as may
be required by the rules shall be provided in such form and
at such time as may be so required.

(3) In any criminal proceedings where it is desired
to give a statement in evidence in accordance with this
section, a certificate —

(a) identifying the document containing the
statement and describing the manner in which it
was produced;

(b) giving such particulars of any device involved in
the production of that document as may be
appropriate for the purpose of showing that the
document was produced by a computer;

(c) dealing with any of the matters mentioned in
subsection (1); and

(d) purporting to be signed by a occupying a
responsible position in to the operation of the
computer,

shall be evidence of anything stated in it; and the purposes
of this subsection it shall be sufficient for a matter to be
stated to the best of the knowledge and belief of the it.

(4) Notwithstanding subsection (3), a court may
require oral evidence to be given of anything of which
evidence could be given by a certificate under that
subsection.

Evidence from
computer
records.

CH.65 – 46] EVIDENCE





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

(5) Any person who in a certificate tendered under
subsection (3) in a magistrates’ court, Supreme Court or
the Court of Appeal makes a statement which he knows to
be false or does not believe to be true is guilty of an and
shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine of one
thousand dollars or to imprisonment of six months or to
both.

(6) In estimating the weight, if any, to be attached to
a statement regard shall be had to all the circumstances from
which any inference can reasonably be drawn as to the
accuracy or otherwise of the statement and, in particular —

(a) to the question whether or not the information
which the information contained in the statement
reproduces or is derived from was supplied to the
relevant computer, or recorded for the purpose of
being supplied to it, contemporaneously with the
occurrence or existence of the facts dealt with in
that information; and

(b) to the question whether or not any person
concerned with the supply of information to that
computer, or with the operation of that computer
or any equipment by means of which the
document containing the statement was
produced by it, had any incentive to conceal or
misrepresent the facts.

(7) For the purposes of subsection (6) information
shall to be taken to be supplied to a computer whether it is
supplied directly or (with or without human intervention)
by means of any appropriate equipment.

68. (1) Where in any criminal proceedings a statement
contained in a document is admissible in evidence by virtue
of section 66 or in accordance with section 67 it may be
proved —

(a) by the production of that document; or
(b) (whether or not that document is still in

existence) by the production of a copy of that
document, or of the material part of it,

authenticated in such a manner as the court may approve.
(2) For the purpose of deciding whether or not a

statement is so admissible the court may draw any
reasonable inference —

Provisions
supplementary to
sections 66 and
67.

EVIDENCE [CH.65 – 47



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[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

(a) from the circumstances in which the statement
was made or otherwise came into being; or

(b) from any other circumstances, including the
form and contents of the document in which the
statement is contained.

(3) Provisions may be made by rules of court for
supplementing the provisions of sections 66 and 67.

Exclusion of Oral Evidence by Documentary
Evidence

69. (1) Subject to subsection (2), where —
(a) any judgment of any court or any other judicial

or official proceeding;
(b) any contract or grant or any other disposition of

property;
(c) any other transaction which is by law required to

be in the form of a document,
has been reduced to the form of a document, or series

of documents, no evidence shall be given of the contents of
the terms thereof except the document itself, or secondary
evidence of its contents in cases in which such secondary
evidence is admissible under subsections (2) and (3).

(2) Oral evidence shall not be excluded —
(a) of any transaction, because a documentary

memorandum of it was made, if such
memorandum was not intended to have legal
effect as a contract or other disposition of
property;

(b) of the existence of any legal relationship by the
fact that it has been created by a document when
the question for the consideration of the court is
the existence of the relationship itself and not
the terms on which it was established or is
carried on;

(c) of the fact that a person holds a public office by
the fact that he was appointed thereto in writing
or under seal, if it is proved that he has acted in
such office.

(3) Wills admitted to probate may be proved by the
production of the probate.

Oral evidence
inadmissible of
contents or terms
of official
proceeding,
contract, etc.,
required to be in
writing and
reduced to
writing.

CH.65 – 48] EVIDENCE





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

70. (1) Subject to subsection (2) where any contract,
grant or other disposition of property, or any transaction
which is by law required to be in the form of a document
has been reduced to the form of a document, no evidence
of any oral agreement or statement shall be admitted as
between the parties thereto, or their representatives in
interest, for the purpose of contradicting, varying, adding
to or subtracting from its terms.

(2) Evidence may be given of —
(a) any fraud, duress, illegality, want of due

execution, want of capacity in any contracting
party, want or failure of consideration, error in
date, mistake in fact or law or any other fact
which would invalidate the document or entitle
any person to any order or relief relating thereto;

(b) any separate oral agreement as to any matter on
which a document is silent, and which is not
inconsistent with its terms, if from the
circumstances of the case the court infers that
the parties did not intend the document to be a
complete and final statement of the whole of the
transaction between them;

(c) any separate oral agreement constituting a
condition precedent to the attaching of any
obligation under any such contract, grant or
disposition of property;

(d) any distinct subsequent agreement to rescind or
modify any such contract, grant or disposition of
property:

Provided that such agreement is not itself
required by law to be in the form of a document;

(e) any usage or custom by which any incident not
expressly mentioned in any contract is annexed to
contracts of that description, unless the annexing
of such incident to such contract would be
repugnant to or inconsistent with the express
terms of the contract;

(f) any fact which shows in what manner the
language of a document is related to existing
facts.

Oral evidence
inadmissible to
vary terms of
contract, etc.,
reduced to
writing.

EVIDENCE [CH.65 – 49



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[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

71. (1) Evidence may not be given to show what
words were intended to be inserted in any blank spaces left
in a document.

(2) Evidence may not be given to explain expressions
which are so vague that no meaning can reasonably be
given to them having due regard to the content of the
document as a whole.

(3) Nothing herein contained shall be deemed to
take away the power of the court to order documents to be
rectified or other like equitable relief or remedies.

72. When language used in a document is plain in
itself, and when it applies accurately to existing facts,
evidence may not be given to show that it was not meant to
apply to those facts.

73. When language used in a document is plain in
itself but has no meaning in reference to existing facts,
evidence may be given to show that it was used in a
particular sense.

74. When the facts are such that the language used
might have been meant to apply to any one, and could not
have been meant to apply to more than one, of several
persons or things, evidence may be given of facts which
show to which of those persons or things it was intended to
apply.

75. When the language used applies, partly to one
set of existing facts and partly to another set of existing
facts, but the whole of it does not apply correctly to either,
evidence may be given to show to which of the two it was
meant to apply.

76. Evidence may be given to show the meaning of
illegible or not commonly intelligible characters of foreign;
obsolete, technical, local and provincial expressions, of
abbreviations, and of words used in a particular sense.

77. Evidence may be given on behalf of persons
who are not parties to a document, or their representatives
in interest, of any facts tending to show a contemporaneous
agreement varying the terms of the document.

Exclusion of
evidence to
explain or amend
ambiguous
document.

Exclusion of
evidence against
application of
document to
existing facts.

Evidence as to
document
unmeaning in
reference to
existing facts.

Evidence as to
application of
language which
can apply to one
only of several
persons.

Evidence as to
application of
language to one
of two sets of
facts.

Evidence as to
meaning of
illegible
characters, etc.

Evidence may be
given of
agreement
varying terms of
document.

CH.65 – 50] EVIDENCE





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

78. Nothing in this Part shall affect the construction
of wills.

PART IV
JUDICIAL NOTICE, BURDEN OF PROOF AND

PRESUMPTIONS
Judicial Notice

79. No fact of which the court will take judicial
notice need be proved.

80. (1) The court shall take judicial notice of the
following facts —

(a) all Acts or rules having the force of law, now or
formerly in force or hereafter to be in force, in
any part of The Bahamas;

(b) the course of proceeding and the privilege of
Parliament;

(c) the accession and the sign manual of the
Sovereign for the time being of The Bahamas;

(d) the Great Seal, the Public Seal, the Seal of the
Supreme Court, the Seal of the Superior Courts
of Commonwealth countries, the seals of all
notaries public in any part of the
Commonwealth, and all seals which any person
is authorised to use by any Act or other law in
force for the time being;

(f) the commencement, continuance and termina-
tion of hostilities between The Bahamas and any
other state or body of persons;

(g) the names of the members and officers of court
and of their deputies and subordinate officers
and assistants, and also of all officers acting in
execution of its process, and of all counsel and
attorneys and other persons authorised by law to
appear or act before it;

(h) the rule of the road on land or at sea;
(i) the ordinary course of nature, natural and

artificial divisions of time, the geographical
divisions of the world and the meaning of
English words;

Construction of
wills

Judicial notice.

Facts of which
judicial notice
taken.

EVIDENCE [CH.65 – 51



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[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

(j) all notorious facts;
(k) all other matters which it is directed by any Act

to notice.
(2) In all the cases mentioned in subsection (1) and

on all matters of public history, literature, science or art,
the court may resort for its aid to appropriate books or
documents of reference.

(3) If the court is called upon by any person to take
judicial notice of any fact, it may refuse to do so unless and
until the person produces any such book or document as it
may consider necessary to enable it to do so.

81. (1) Subject to subsection (2), no fact need be
proved in any civil proceeding which the parties thereto or
their agents agree to admit at the hearing, or which before
the hearing they agree to admit by any writing under their
hands, or which by any rule or pleading in force at the
time, they are deemed to have admitted by their pleadings.

(2) The court may in its discretion require the facts
admitted to be proved otherwise than by the admissions.

The Burden of Proof
82. (1) Whoever desires any court to give judgment

as to any legal right or liability dependant on the existence
of facts which he asserts, must prove that those facts exist.

(2) When a person is bound to prove the existence
of any fact the burden of proof shall lie on that person.

83. The burden of proof in any proceeding at the
commencement thereof lies on that person who would fail
if no evidence at all were given on either side, regard being
had to the pleadings and other documents filed therein; but
at any time in the course of any proceeding the burden of
proof may be shifted to the person who would fail, if no
further evidence were given on either side.

84. The burden of proof as to any particular fact lies
on that person who wishes the court to believe in its
existence, unless it is provided by any law that the proof of
the fact shall lie on any particular person.

Facts admitted
need not be
proved.

Burden of proof.

General rule as
to burden of
proof at
commencement
of proceeding.

Burden of proof
of particular fact.

CH.65 – 52] EVIDENCE





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

85. The burden of proving any fact necessary to be
proved in order to enable any person to give evidence of
any other fact is on the person who wishes to give the
evidence.

86. The burden of negativing any exception or
exemption contained in any criminal statute or any statute
creating any offence or imposing any penalty shall be upon
the party prosecuting or suing for the penalty, unless the
exception or exemption relates to a matter which is
peculiarly within the knowledge of the person charged, in
which case the burden of proving that he is entitled to the
benefit of such exception or exemption shall be upon that
person.

87. When the question is whether persons are
partners, landlord and tenant, or principal and agent, and it
has been shown that they have been acting as such, the
burden of proving that they do not stand or have ceased to
stand to each other in those relationships respectively is on
the person who affirms it.

88. When the question is whether any person is
owner of any thing of which he is shown to be in
possession, the burden of proving that he is not the owner
is on the person who affirms that he is not the owner.

89. Where persons stand in such a relation to each
other that one of them necessarily reposes confidence in
the other, or is placed by circumstances under his authority,
control or influence, the burden of proof as to the good
faith of any transaction between them, from which such
other person derives advantage, shall be upon such other
person.

General Presumptions
90. Where a person is proved to have done any act

in any official or judicial capacity, the court shall presume,
until the contrary is shown, that all circumstances had
happened and all conditions were fulfilled which were
necessary to give validity to such act.

Burden of proof
of fact necessary
to enable other
facts to be
proved.

Burden of
negativing
exception in
criminal statute.

Burden of proof
of continuance of
certain
relationship.

Burden of proof
of ownership

Burden of proof
between persons
in relationship of
confidence.

Presumption of
regularity of
official and
judicial acts.

EVIDENCE [CH.65 – 53



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[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

91. Where a person is found in the possession of
property proved to have been recently stolen he shall be
presumed to have stolen it, or to have received it knowing
it to have been stolen according to the circumstances of the
case, unless he shall give some satisfactory explanation of
the manner in which it came into his possession.

92. Where any person is proved to have been alive
at any date, the court shall presume, until the contrary is
shown, that he continued alive up to any subsequent date
which it may consider reasonable having regard to the age
of the person and the other circumstances of the case.

93. Where any person is proved not to have been
heard of for seven years after proper inquiry made by or on
behalf of those who naturally would have heard of him if
he had been alive, the court shall presume, until the
contrary is shown, that he is dead but the court in such a
case shall make no presumption as to the time of his death,
and the burden of proof that he died at any particular time
shall be on the person who asserts it.

94. The court shall presume, until the contrary is
shown, that any two persons cohabiting in the reputed
relationship of marriage were validly married.

95. Where a marriage is proved to have been
celebrated the court shall presume, unless the contrary is
conclusively proved, that all circumstances happened and
that all conditions were fulfilled which were necessary to
give validity to such marriage.

96. Where a person is proved to have been born
during the continuance of a valid marriage between the
mother and any man or within two hundred and eighty
days after its dissolution, the mother remaining unmarried,
the court shall presume that the person is the legitimate
child of that man, unless it is shown by evidence that the
person could not be the legitimate child of that man.

97. Where there are conflicting presumptions, neither
which is conclusive, the question which presumption is to
prevail is a question of fact to be decided by the court
according to the circumstances of the case.

Presumption of
guilt of person
found in
possession of
property recently
stolen.

Presumption of
the continuance
of life.

Presumption of
death where
person not heard
of for seven
years.

Presumption of
marriage from
cohabitation.

Presumption of
validity of
marriage shown
to have been
celebrated

Presumption of
legitimacy of
offspring.

Where
presumptions
conflicting,
question of fact
for court.

CH.65 – 54] EVIDENCE





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

Presumptions as to Documents
98. When any document is produced before a court

purporting to be a document which by any statute at the
time in force is admissible in evidence provided that it is
signed or stamped or sealed, or otherwise authenticated as
required by the statute, the court shall presume until the
contrary is shown —

(a) that the signature, stamp, seal or other
authentication of the document is genuine;

(b) that the person signing, stamping, sealing or
otherwise authenticating it had at the time when
he so signed, stamped, sealed or authenticated it
the official or other character which he claims:

Provided that the document is substantially in the
form, and purports to be executed in the manner directed
by the law in that behalf.

99. Whenever any document purporting to be signed
by any judge or magistrate is produced before any court,
purporting to be —

(a) a record or memorandum of the evidence, or of
any part of the evidence, given by a witness in a
judicial proceeding in any court;

(b) a statement or confession by any prisoner or
accused person taken in accordance with law,

the court shall presume, until the contrary is shown, that
the document is genuine, or that any statements as to the
circumstances under which it was taken purporting to be
made by the person signing it are true, or that the evidence,
statement or confession was duly taken.

100. The court shall presume, until the contrary is
shown, the genuineness —

(a) of every notice purporting to be a Government
notice in any document purporting to be the
Gazette;

(b) of every document purporting to be the
Government Gazette of any country of the
Commonwealth, or to be the Gazette issued by
the local Government of any part of such
country of the Commonwealth;

Presumption of
authenticity of
document
admissible in
evidence on
proof that certain
prescribed
conditions are
complied with.

Presumption of
authenticity of
judicial record
purporting to be
signed by judge
or magistrate.

Presumption of
genuineness of
certain
documents.

EVIDENCE [CH.65 – 55



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[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

(c) of every document purporting to be a newspaper
or journal;

(d) of every document purporting to be a document
directed by law to be kept by any person if the
document is kept substantially in the form
required by law and is produced from the proper
custody, as defined by section 107.

101. The court shall presume, until the contrary is
shown, the genuineness —

(a) of every book purporting to be printed or
published under the authority of the government
or of the legislature of any country, and to
contain any laws of the country;

(b) of every book purporting to contain reports of
decisions of the courts of that country.

102. (1) The court shall presume until the contrary is
shown that every document purporting to be a power of
attorney and to have been executed and authenticated by
the oath of one of the subscribing witnesses to, or by the
acknowledgement of, the person executing the same, or if
they are absent from The Bahamas or dead or not easily
accessible or they have declined to attend to prove the
execution thereof, and there shall be nothing on the face of
the deed or document or otherwise to raise a reasonable
suspicion of its not being genuine or that its execution was
otherwise than bona fide, by the oath of any person as to
the handwriting of any of the signatures thereto, was so
executed and authenticated:

Provided that —
(a) such oath or acknowledgement shall be made or

taken before and authenticated by a diplomatic
agent or consular officer of The Bahamas, a
judge, a justice of the peace, a notary public or
any other person legally authorised to administer
oaths or take acknowledgements; and

(b) when such oath or acknowledgement is made or
taken in a foreign country (except when such
oath or acknowledgement is made or taken
before a diplomatic agent or consular officer of
The Bahamas), the official character of the


Presumption of
genuineness of
book containing
laws or reports of
judicial decisions.

Presumption of
authenticity of
power of
attorney.

CH.65 – 56] EVIDENCE





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

officer before whom the same was made or
taken or the official standing of the person who
attests or certifies the official character of such
officer shall be verified by a diplomatic agent or
consular officer of The Bahamas.

(2) Every document purporting to be a power of
attorney executed and authenticated before the coming into
operation of this Act in accordance with the provisions of
subsection (1), shall, until the contrary is shown, be
deemed to have been duly executed and authenticated.

103. The court may presume, until the contrary is
shown, that any book to which it may refer for information
on matters of public or general interest, and that any
published map or chart, which is produced for its
inspection was written and published by the person and at
the time and place, by whom, or at which, it purports to
have been written or published.

104. The court may presume, until the contrary is
shown, that a message forwarded from a telegraph office to
the person to whom the message purports to be addressed
corresponds with a message delivered for transmission at
the office from which the message purports to be sent; but
the court shall not make any presumption as to the person
by whom the message was delivered for transmission.

105. The court shall presume, until the contrary is
shown, that every document called for and not produced
after notice to produce, given under section 47 was
attested, stamped and executed in the manner required by
law.

106. Where any document purporting or proved to be
thirty years old is produced from any custody which the
court in the particular case considers proper the court may
presume that the signature and every other part of the
document which purports to be in the handwriting of any
particular person is in that person’s handwriting, and in the
case of a document executed or attested, that it was duly
executed and attested by the persons by whom it purports
to be executed and attested.

Presumption as
to authorship
and date of
books, maps, etc.

Presumption of
accuracy of
telegraphic
message.

Presumption as
to validity of
document called
for and not
produced.

Presumption of
genuineness and
validity of
document 30
years old
produced from
proper custody.

EVIDENCE [CH.65 – 57



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[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

107. For the purposes of sections 100 and 106
documents are said to be in proper custody if they are in
the place in which, and under the care of the person with
whom, they would naturally be; or if they are in any
custody which is proved to have had a legitimate origin, or
which the court considers legitimate from the circum-
stances of the case.

108. The court shall presume, until the contrary is
shown, that every document bearing a date was executed
on the date which it bears, and if more documents than one
bear the same date, the court shall presume, until the
contrary is shown, that they were executed in the order
necessary to effect the object for which they were
executed, but the court in its own discretion may require to
be satisfied by evidence independent of the document as to
the date of the execution where the circumstances are such
that the person executing it may have been under any
inducement to be guilty of fraud or collusion in connection
with the dating thereof.

109. The court shall presume, until the contrary is
shown, that any document purporting to be a deed and
stamped as a deed, and proved or presumed to have been
duly signed and attested, was duly sealed and delivered,
although no impression of a seal appears thereon.

110. The court shall presume, until the contrary is
shown —

(a) that any alteration or interlineation appearing on
the face of a deed was made before the deed was
completed;

(b) that any alteration or interlineation appearing on
the face of a will was made after the will was
executed;

(c) that any alteration or interlineation appearing on
the face of any document, not being a bill of
exchange or a promissory note, was made at such
a time and under such circumstances as not to
constitute an offence against the law.

Meaning of
proper custody.

Presumption as
to date and order
of execution of
documents.

Presumption as
to execution of
deed.

Presumption as
to alterations and
interlineations of
documents.

CH.65 – 58] EVIDENCE





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

111. (1) A person producing a document which upon
the face of it appears to have been altered in any material
particular, shall not be permitted in any proceeding to
claim against any party thereto or his representative in
interest any right created by such document, unless the
alteration was made before the completion of the
document, or with the consent of the party to be charged
under it or his representative in interest or unless he shall
prove to the satisfaction of the court that the alteration was
made unintentionally or under a mistake, or without his
authority.

(2) An alteration is said to be material when, if it
had been made with the consent of the party charged, it
would have affected his interest or varied his obligations
under the document.

PART V
PUBLIC DOCUMENTS

112. The following documents are public docu-
ments —

(a) documents forming the acts or records of the
acts —

(i) of the Government,
(ii) of official bodies and tribunals,
(iii) of public officers, legislative, judicial and

executive;
(b) public records of private documents;
(c) registers of births, marriages and deaths kept

under the authority of law.
113. (1) A certified copy of a document is a copy of

the document or of part of a document with a certificate
attached thereto, or inscribed thereon, that it is a true copy
of the document or of part thereof subscribed by the officer
who has the official custody of the document with his
name and official title, and in cases where the officer is
authorised by law to make use of a seal authenticated by
such seal.

(2) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this
Act or any other law, a print whether enlarged or not
purporting to be made from a film of a public document


Position of
person producing
document
appearing to be
altered in
material
particular.

Public
documents.

Meaning of
certified copy.

EVIDENCE [CH.65 – 59



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[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

and purporting to be certified to be a print made from a
film of a public document by a public officer or person
who has custody of the film, shall be admitted in evidence
as evidence of the contents of that document in any
proceedings before a court of tribunal on its production
without further proof and on such production it shall be
presumed by the court or tribunal until the contrary is
proved —

(a) that a certificate purporting to be signed by the
public officer or person having custody of the
film has been signed by him; and

(b) that the print to which the certificate refers has
been made from a film of the public document.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (2) —
(a) “public document” includes any document,

record book or register to which subsection
(2)(e) of section 39 or section 112 refers;

(b) the meaning assigned by subsection (6) of
section 57 to any expressions used in this
section shall respectively apply.

114. Every public officer having the custody of a
public document, which any person has a right to inspect,
shall on request give that person on payment of the legal
fees therefor a certified copy thereof.

115. (1) The following public documents may be
proved as follows —

(a) Acts, orders or notifications of the Government
of The Bahamas in any of its departments — by
the records of the departments certified by the
head of the department or by the Minister for the
time being, or by Government Notices appearing
in the Official Newspaper or the Gazette;

(b) the proceedings of the Senate — by the minutes
of the Senate, or by any published record of its
proceedings purporting or appearing by the
contents thereof to be printed by its authority;

(c) the proceedings of the House of Assembly — by
the minutes of the House, or by any published
record of its proceedings purporting or
appearing by the contents thereof to be printed
by its authority;

Duty of
custodian of
public documents
to furnish
certified copy.

Special methods
of proving
certain public
documents.

CH.65 – 60] EVIDENCE





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

(d) the proceedings of any public board in The
Bahamas — by the minutes of the board;

(e) copies of Acts, ordinances and statutes passed
(whether before or after the coming into
operation of this Act) — by the legislature of a
country of the Commonwealth; and of orders,
regulations, and other instruments issued or
made (whether before or after the coming into
operation of this Act) under the authority of any
such Act, ordinance or statute, if purporting to
be printed by the Government printer of the
particular country shall be received in evidence
by all courts of justice in The Bahamas without
any proof being given that the copies were so
printed;

(f) proclamations, treaties and acts of state of a
foreign state — by copies authenticated by the
seal of the foreign state;

(g) judgments, decrees, orders or other judicial
proceedings of a foreign state — by copies
authenticated by the seal of the court to which
the original document belongs, or, if the court
has no seal, signed by the judge, or; if there be
more than one judge, by any one of the judges of
the court accompanied by a statement attached
to his signature that the court whereof he is
judge has no seal;

(h) all other public documents of a foreign state —
by certified copies certified by the person having
the official custody thereof accompanied by a
certificate under the seal of a diplomatic agent or
consular officer of The Bahamas, attesting the
official character of the person so certifying and
upon proof of the nature of the document
according to the law of the foreign state;

(i) acts, orders or notifications of the Government
of any country of the Commonwealth — by
Government Notices appearing in any paper
purporting to be the Official Gazette of such
country;

EVIDENCE [CH.65 – 61



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[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

(j) judgments, decrees, orders or other judicial
proceedings of a lawfully constituted court in a
country of the Commonwealth — by copies
authenticated by the seal of the court to which
the original document belongs, or if the court
has no seal signed by the judge, or if there be
more than one judge by any one of the judges of
the court, accompanied by a statement attached
to his signature that the court whereof he is
judge has no seal;

(k) all other public documents of a country of the
Commonwealth — by certified copies certified
by the person having the official custody thereof
accompanied by a certificate under the seal of a
notary public attesting the official character of
the person so certifying, and upon proof of the
nature of the document according to the law of
the country or possession.

(2) If any person prints any copy or pretended copy
of any Act, ordinance, statute, order, regulation or
instrument which falsely purports to have been printed by
the government printer of a particular country, or tenders in
evidence any such copy or pretended copy which falsely
purports to have been so printed, knowing that it was not
so printed, he is guilty of an offence and shall be liable on
summary conviction to a fine of two thousand dollars or to
imprisonment for twelve months.

116. (1) Where any person has been convicted by any
court of any offence, the conviction may be proved in any
subsequent proceedings by the production of a certificate
signed by the clerk of the court, or other person having the
custody of the records of the court, and containing the
substance and effect of the information or charge and of
the conviction.

(2) Where in any proceedings a certificate is produced
to prove a conviction, it shall be proved to the satisfaction of
the court that the accused is the person named in the
certificate.

(3) A court fee as may be prescribed shall be
chargeable for every such certificate, except in cases in
which it is required in proceedings taken on behalf of the
Crown.

Previous
convictions, how
proved.

CH.65 – 62] EVIDENCE





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

PART VI
JUDGMENTS

117. In this Part —
“judgment” means —
(a) the judgment of a court in The Bahamas; or
(b) a judgment of the Judicial Committee of Her

Majesty’s Privy Council given on appeal from a
decision of a court in The Bahamas.

118. Every judgment is conclusive evidence against
all persons of the legal result which it effects.

119. A final judgment, order or decree of a competent
court in the exercise of probate, matrimonial, admiralty or
bankruptcy jurisdiction which confers upon or takes away
from any person any legal character or which declares any
person to be entitled to any such character, or to be entitled
to any specific thing, not as against any special person but
absolutely is in a civil proceeding conclusive proof and in a
criminal proceeding prima facie proof —

(a) that any legal character which it confers accrued
at the time when the judgment, order or decree,
declares it to have accrued to that person;

(b) that any legal character to which it declares any
such person to be entitled accrued to that person
at the time when the judgment; order or decree,
declares it to have accrued to that person;

(c) that any legal character which it takes away
from any such person ceased at the time from
which the judgment, order or decree; declared
that it had ceased or should cease;

(d) that anything to which it declares any person to
be so entitled was the property of that person at
the time from which the judgment, order or
decree, declares that it had been or should be his
property.

120. (1) Where a judgment shows on the face of it, or
when read in connection with the proceedings to which it
relates, that, assuming the truth of the facts stated in the
judgment, the court delivering the judgment had jurisdic-
tion to deal with the subject matter of the proceedings, no
evidence shall be given to show that the facts were
otherwise than as stated in the judgment.

Meaning of
judgment.

Effect of
judgment.

Effect in evidence
of judgment of
court in exercise
of probate,
matrimonial,
admiralty or
bankruptcy
jurisdiction.

Judgment
conclusive proof
of facts therein
stated in favour
of court
delivering it.

EVIDENCE [CH.65 – 63



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[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

(2) Subsection (1) shall not apply to cases in which
the court shall have acted without jurisdiction either
wilfully or under a mistake of law.

121. (1) Every judgment is conclusive proof in all
subsequent proceedings between the same parties or their
privies, of facts directly in issue in the case actually decided
by the court, but not of facts which are only collaterally or
incidentally in issue, even though the decision of such facts
was necessary to the decision of the case.

(2) In order to prove that such fact was directly in
issue, evidence may be given —

(a) of the judgment itself;
(b) of observations made by the court in delivering

the judgment;
(c) of the proceedings in the case prior to the

judgment.
122. Any party against whom any judgment is

offered in evidence may prove that the court which gave it
had no jurisdiction or that it had been reversed or that it
was obtained by any fraud of collusion to which neither he
nor any person to whom he is a privy was a party or that
the decision was not given upon the merits of the case.

123. (1) In any civil proceedings the fact that a
person has been convicted of an offence by or before any
court in The Bahamas or by a court-martial there or
elsewhere shall, subject to subsection (3), be admissible in
evidence for the purpose of proving, where to do so is
relevant to any issue in those proceedings, that he
committed that offence, whether he was so convicted upon
a plea of guilty or otherwise and whether or not he is a
party to the civil proceedings; but no conviction other than
a subsisting one shall be admissible in evidence by virtue
of this section.

(2) In any civil proceedings in which by virtue of
this section a person is proved to have been convicted of an
offence by or before any court in The Bahamas or by a
court-martial there or elsewhere —

(a) he shall be taken to have committed that offence
unless the contrary is proved; and

Judgment
conclusive as to
issues decided
between parties.

Proof by party
against whom
any judgment is
offered in
evidence.

Convictions as
evidence in civil
proceedings.

CH.65 – 64] EVIDENCE





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

(b) without prejudice to the reception of any other
admissible evidence for the purpose of
identifying the facts on which the conviction
was based, the contents of any document which
is admissible as evidence of the conviction, and
the contents of the information, complaint,
indictment or charge-sheet on which the person
in question was convicted, shall be admissible in
evidence for that purpose.

(3) Nothing in this section shall prejudice the
operation of section 125 or any other written law whereby
a conviction or a finding of fact in any criminal
proceedings is for the purposes of any other proceedings
made conclusive evidence of any fact.

(4) Where in any civil proceedings the contents of
any document are admissible in evidence by virtue of
subsection (2), a copy of that document, or of the material
part thereof, purporting to be certified or otherwise
authenticated by or on behalf of the court or authority
having custody of that document shall be admissible in
evidence and shall be taken to be a true copy of that
document or part unless the contrary is shown.

124. (1) In any civil proceedings —
(a) the fact that a person has been found guilty of

adultery in any matrimonial proceedings; and
(b) the fact that a person has been adjudged to be

the father of a child in affiliation proceedings
before any court in The Bahamas,

shall, subject to subsection (3), be admissible in evidence
for the purpose of proving, where to do so is relevant to
any issue in those civil proceedings, that he committed the
adultery to which the finding relates or, as the case may be,
is or was the father of that child, whether or not he offered
any defence to the allegation of adultery or paternity and
whether or not he is a party to the civil proceedings; but no
finding or adjudication other than a subsisting one shall be
admissible in evidence by virtue of this section.

(2) In any civil proceedings in which by virtue of
this section a person is proved to have been found guilty of
adultery as mentioned in paragraph (a) of subsection (1) or
to have been adjudged to be the father of a child as
mentioned in paragraph (b) of subsection (1) —

Findings of
adultery and
paternity as
evidence in civil
proceedings.

EVIDENCE [CH.65 – 65



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[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

(a) he shall be taken to have committed the adultery
to which the finding relates or, as the case may
be, to be or have been the father of that child,
unless the contrary is proved; and

(b) without prejudice to the reception of any other
admissible evidence for the purpose of
identifying the facts on which the finding or
adjudication was based, the contents of any
document which was before the court, or which
contains any pronouncement of the court, in the
matrimonial or affiliation proceedings in
question shall be admissible in evidence for that
purpose.

(3) Nothing in this section shall prejudice the
operation of any written law whereby a finding of fact in
any matrimonial or affiliation proceedings is for the
purposes of any other proceedings made conclusive
evidence of any fact.

(4) Subsection (4) of section 123 shall apply for the
purposes of this section as if the reference to subsection (2)
were a reference to subsection (2) of this section.

(5) In this section —
“matrimonial proceedings” means any matrimonial

cause in the Supreme Court, or any appeal
arising out of any such cause.

125. (1) In an action for libel or slander in which the
question whether a person did or did not commit a criminal
offence is relevant to an issue arising in the action, proof
that at the time when that issue falls to be determined, that
person stands convicted of that offence shall be conclusive
evidence that he committed that offence; and his
conviction thereof shall be admissible in evidence
accordingly.

(2) In any such action as aforesaid in which by virtue
of this section a person is proved to have been convicted of
an offence, the contents of any document which is
admissible as evidence of the conviction, and the contents
of the information, complaint, indictment or charge sheet
on which that person was convicted, shall, without
prejudice to the reception of any other admissible evidence


Conclusiveness
of convictions for
purposes of
defamation
actions.

CH.65 – 66] EVIDENCE





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

for the purpose of identifying the facts on which the
conviction was based, be admissible in evidence for the
purpose of identifying those facts.

(3) For the purposes of this section a person shall be
taken to stand convicted of an offence if but only if there
subsists against him a conviction of that offence by or
before a court in The Bahamas or by a court-martial there
or elsewhere.

(4) Subsection 4 of section 123 shall apply for the
purposes of this section as it apply for the purposes of that
section, but as if in the said subsection (4) the reference to
subsection (2) were a reference to subsection (2) of this
section.

(5) The provisions of this section shall apply for the
purposes of any action begun after the passing of this Act,
whenever the cause of action arose, but shall not apply for
the purposes of any action begun before the passing of this
Act or any appeal or other proceedings arising out of any
such action.

PART VII
JUDICIAL PROCEDURE

Oaths and Affirmations
126. Subject to section 129 and to any other law to

the contrary, all evidence shall be given on oath.
127. Every court shall have authority to administer an

oath to all witnesses legally called before it.
128. If upon the swearing of any witness any question

arises as to the form, or as to the ceremonies of the oath,
the oath shall be administered in such form and with such
ceremonies as the witness declares to be binding on his
conscience.

129. If any person who is called as a witness or to
whom an oath is tendered for the purpose of an affidavit
objects to be sworn stating, as the ground of such
objection, either that he has no religious belief or that the
taking of an oath is contrary to his religious belief, he
shall be permitted to make his solemn affirmation instead
of taking an oath.

All evidence to be
given on oath.

Court to
administer oath.

Form of oath to
be administered.

Solemn
affirmation
permitted.

EVIDENCE [CH.65 – 67



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[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

Competency of Witnesses
130. (1) Subject to the provisions of Part VIII all

persons shall be competent to testify, unless the court
considers that they are prevented from understanding the
questions put to them, or from giving rational answers to
those questions or from understanding the nature of an oath
by tender years, extreme old age, disease, whether of body
or mind, or any other cause of the same kind.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1) the court may
inform itself in any manner the court thinks fit.

131. A person called as a witness who is unable to
speak shall not be deemed incompetent to testify but may
give his evidence by writing, or by signs or in any other
manner in which he can make it intelligible and all such
evidence shall be given in open court and shall be deemed
to be oral evidence.

Privileges of Witnesses as to Certain
Questions

132. (1) No judge, and except upon the special order
of the Supreme Court no magistrate, shall be compelled to
answer any questions as to his own conduct in court as
such judge or magistrate, or as to anything which came to
his knowledge in court as such judge or magistrate; but he
may be examined as to other matters which occurred in his
presence while he was so acting.

(2) This section shall not apply to any proceeding
instituted against a magistrate in respect of anything done
in the execution of the duties of his office.

133. (1) Where the public interest in admitting
evidence that relates to matters of state is outweighed by
public interest in preserving secrecy or confidentiality in
relation to it, the court may, either of its own motion or on
the application of any person (whether or not a party)
direct that the evidence be not given.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1) evidence that
relates to matters of state includes —

(a) evidence that relates to the security or the
defence of The Bahamas;

Who may testify.

Dumb witnesses.

Judges and
magistrates.

Official
communications.

CH.65 – 68] EVIDENCE





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

(b) evidence that relates to international relations
between The Bahamas and another country or
between two or more countries;

(c) evidence the giving of which would tend to
prejudice the proper functioning of government.

134. No magistrate or peace officer shall be
compelled to say whence he derived any information as to
the commission of any offence and no revenue officer shall
be compelled to say whence he got any information as to
the commission of any offence against the laws relating to
the public revenue.

135. (1) Subject to subsection (2), no counsel and
attorney, unless with his client’s express consent, shall at
any time be permitted to disclose in evidence —

(a) any communication made to him in the course
and for the purpose of his employment as such,
by or on behalf of his client;

(b) the contents or condition of any document with
which he has become acquainted in the course
and for the purpose of his professional
employment;

(c) any advice given by him to his client in the
course and for the purpose of such employment.

(2) Nothing in subsection (1) shall protect from
disclosure —

(a) anything done or any communication made in
furtherance of any illegal purpose;

(b) any fact observed by any counsel and attorney in
the course of his employment as such, showing
that any crime or fraud had been committed
since the commencement of his employment.

(3) This section shall apply to the clerks or servants
of counsel and attorneys with reference to facts coming to
their knowledge in that capacity.

136. No one shall be compelled to disclose to the
court any confidential communication which has taken
place between himself and his counsel and attorney.

Information as to
commission of
offences.

Professional
communications.

Confidential
communications
with legal
advisers.

EVIDENCE [CH.65 – 69



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[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

137. Subject to section 175, no husband shall be
compelled to disclose any communication made to him by
his wife during the marriage, and no wife shall be
compelled to disclose any communication made to her by
her husband during the marriage.

138. Subject to the provisions of Part VIII, a witness
shall not be compelled to answer any question which
would tend to expose the witness or the wife or husband of
the witness to a criminal charge or to a penalty or
forfeiture.

Number of Witnesses
139. In actions for breach of promise of marriage no

plaintiff shall recover a verdict unless his or her testimony
shall be corroborated by some material evidence in support
of such promise.

140. In trials for perjury no person shall be liable to
be convicted, unless the falsity of the statement alleged to
have been sworn to by him is proved by two witnesses, or
by a witness corroborated by material and independent
circumstances.

141. Nothing in this Act shall be deemed to affect the
practice or discretion of the court to decline to accept
evidence without corroboration or to direct the jury to
decline to accept evidence without corroboration in cases
in which it may deem it expedient so to do.

Examination and Cross-Examination of
Witnesses

142. (1) The examination of a witness by the party
who calls him shall be called his examination in chief.

(2) The examination of a witness by the adverse
party shall be called his cross-examination.

(3) Where a witness has been cross-examined and is
then examined by the party who called him, such
examination shall be called his re-examination.

143. Witnesses shall be first examined in chief, then (if
the adverse party so desires) cross-examined, then (if the
party calling them so desires) re-examined.

Communications
during marriage.

Witness not
compelled to
answer certain
questions.

Corroboration of
evidence in
actions for
breach of
promise of
marriage.

Number of
witnesses or
corroboration in
trial for perjury.

Savings.

Types of
examination.

Order of
examination.

CH.65 – 70] EVIDENCE





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

144. The examination and cross-examination must
relate to facts which in the opinion of the court are relevant
to the issues before the court, but the cross-examination
need not be confined to the facts to which the witness
testified on his examination in chief.

145. The re-examination shall be directed to the
explanation of matters referred to in cross-examination;
and if new matter is, by permission of the court, introduced
in re-examination, the adverse party may further cross-
examine upon the matter.

146. The court may in all cases permit a witness to be
re-called, either for further examination in chief or for
further cross-examination, and if it does so, the parties
have the right to further cross-examination and re-
examination respectively.

147. (1) A 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
proceeding, 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 called to those parts of the writing which are to
be used for the purpose of contradicting him.

(2) It shall be competent for the court, at any time
during the trial, to require the production of the writing for
its inspection, and it may thereupon make such use of it,
for the purposes of the trial, as it shall think fit.

148. Subject to the provisions of Part VIII, a witness
in any proceeding may be questioned as to whether he has
been convicted of any offence 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.

149. (1) When a witness may be cross-examined, he
may, in addition to the questions hereinbefore referred to,
be asked any questions which tend —

(a) to test his accuracy, veracity or credibility;
(b) to discover who he is, and what is his position in

life;
(c) to shake his credit by injuring his character.

Examination and
cross-
examination.

Re-examination.

Re-calling of
witnesses.

Cross-
examination as
to previous
statements in
writing.

Questioning a
witness as to
conviction of an
offence.

Questions lawful
in cross-
examination.

EVIDENCE [CH.65 – 71



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[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

(2) The court may disallow any question which may
appear to it vexatious and not relevant to any matter proper
to be enquired into in the proceeding.

150. When a witness has been asked any question
which is relevant to the inquiry only in so far as it tends to
shake his credit by injuring his character, no evidence shall
be given to contradict him, but if a witness is asked any
question tending to impeach his impartiality and answers it
by denying the facts suggested, he may be contradicted.

151. (1) A witness may not be cross-examined by the
party calling him unless in the opinion of the court he
proves to be an adverse witness.

(2) In this Act —
“adverse witness” means a witness who appears to

desire to avoid testifying about the facts in issue or to give
only such testimony about the facts in issue as will harm
the party calling him or will be of help to the adversary.

152. A party calling a witness shall not be allowed to
impeach his credit by general evidence of bad character,
but he may in case the witness shall in the opinion of the
court prove an adverse witness, contradict him by other
evidence, or by leave of the court 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 has made such a statement.

153. A person summoned to produce a document
does not become a witness by the mere fact that he
produces it, and cannot be cross-examined unless and until
he is called as a witness.

Leading Questions
154. Any question suggesting the answer which the

person putting it wishes or expects to receive, or suggesting
disputed facts as to which the witness is to testify, is called a
leading question.

When a witness
may be
contradicted.

Adverse witness.

Impeaching
credit of witness.

Person called to
produce
document.

Leading
questions.

CH.65 – 72] EVIDENCE





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

155. Leading questions shall not, if objected to by the
adverse party, be asked in an examination in chief or in a
re-examination, except with the permission of the court.

156. The court shall permit leading questions as to
matters which are introductory or undisputed, or which
have, in its opinion, been already sufficiently proved.

157. Leading questions may be asked in cross-
examination, but the questions must not assume that facts
have been proved, or that particular answers have been
given contrary to the fact.

158. The court, in its discretion, may prohibit leading
questions from being put to a witness who shows a strong
interest or bias in favour of the cross-examining party.

Refreshing Memory
159. A witness may, while under examination,

refresh his memory by referring to any writing made by
himself at the time of the transaction concerning which he
is questioned, or so soon afterwards that the court
considers it is likely that the transaction was at that time
fresh in his memory.

160. The witness may also refer to any such writing
made by any other person and read by the witness within
the time aforesaid if when he read it he knew it to be
correct.

161. Whenever any witness may refresh his memory
by reference to any document, he may, with the permission
of the court, refer to a copy of the document but the court
shall be satisfied that there is sufficient reason for the non-
production of the original.

162. An expert may refresh his memory by reference
to professional treatises.

163. Any writing referred to in sections 159 to 162
shall be produced and shown to the adverse party, if he
requires it; and he may, cross-examine the witness there-
upon.

When leading
questions shall
not be asked.

When court may
permit leading
questions to be
asked.

When leading
questions may be
asked.

When court may
prohibit leading
questions.

When witness
may use own
writing.

When witness
may use
another’s writing.

When witness
may use copy of
document.

Experts may
refer to treatises.

Rights of adverse
party.

EVIDENCE [CH.65 – 73



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[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

Production of Documents
164. When a party calls for a document which he has

given the other party notice to produce and the document is
produced and inspected by the party calling for its
production, he is bound to give it as evidence if the party
producing it requires him to do so and if it is relevant to the
issues before the court.

165. When a party refuses to produce a document
which he has had notice to produce, he cannot afterwards
use the document as evidence, without the consent of the
other party or the order of the court.

166. A witness summoned to produce a document,
shall, if it is in his possession or power, bring it to court,
notwithstanding any objection which there may be to its
production, or to its admissibility and the validity of any
such objection shall be decided on by the court.

167. The court, if it sees fit, may inspect the
document, and take other evidence to enable it to
determine on its admissibility.

General Powers of the Court
168. (1) The court may, in its discretion, ask any

question in any form at any time of any witness, and with
leave of the court any party may cross-examine the witness
upon any answer given in reply to any such question.

(2) Subsection (1) shall not authorise the court to
compel any witness to answer any question which the
witness would be entitled to refuse to answer if the
question were asked by the adverse party.

169. Any person present in court, whether a party to
the proceedings or not, may be called upon and compelled
by the court to give evidence and produce any document
then and there in his actual possession, or in his power, in
the same manner and subject to the same rules as if he had
been summoned to appear and give evidence, or to produce
the document, and may be punished in like manner for any
refusal to obey the order of the court.

Document called
for and produced
on notice.

Document called
for and refused
on notice.

Production of
document.

Court may
inspect
document.

Court’s power to
put questions.

Power of court to
compel person
present in court
to give evidence.

CH.65 – 74] EVIDENCE





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

170. In any proceeding the court may require the
production of the subject matter of the evidence for its
inspection, and may itself proceed to view and investigate
the subject matter of the evidence by an inspection thereof
and shall be entitled to access to any land or other property
for the purpose of such inspection.

PART VIII
EVIDENCE BY PERSONS CHARGED WITH

OFFENCES AND THEIR HUSBANDS OR WIVES
171. 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:

Provided as follows —
(a) a person so charged shall not be called as a

witness 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;

(c) subject to section 175, the wife or husband or
the person charged shall not be called as a
witness except upon the application of the
person so charged;

(d) nothing in this section 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 marriage;

(e) a person charged and being a witness in
pursuance of this section may be compelled to
answer any question in cross-examination
notwithstanding that it would tend to
incriminate him as to the offence charged;

Power of court to
inspect.

Competency of
witnesses in
criminal cases.

EVIDENCE [CH.65 – 75



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[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

(f) a person charged and called as a witness in
pursuance of this section shall not be asked, and
if asked shall not be required to answer, any
question tending to show that he has committed
or been convicted of or been charged with any
offence other than that wherewith he is then
charged or is of bad character; unless —

(i) the proof that he has committed or been
convicted of such other offence is
admissible evidence to show that he is
guilty of the offence wherewith he is then
charged,

(ii) he has personally or by his counsel and
attorney asked questions of the witnesses
for the prosecution with a view to
establish his own good character, or the
nature or conduct of the defence is such as
to involve imputations on the character of
the prosecutor or the witness for the
prosecution,

(iii) he has given evidence against any other
person charged with the same offence;

(g) every person called as a witness in pursuance of
this section 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 section shall affect the provisions
of sections 120 and 201 of the Criminal
Procedure Code Act or any right of the person
charged to make a statement without being
sworn.

172. A person charged and called as a witness who
gives evidence against any other person charged jointly
with him with the same offence, or whose evidence affects
the defence of such other person may be cross-examined
by such other person.

173. If at the trial of any person for an offence —
(a) the defence intends to call two or more

witnesses to the facts of the case; and
(b) those witnesses include the accused person,

the accused person shall be called before the other witness
or witnesses unless the court in its discretion otherwise
directs.

Ch. 91.

Cross-
examination of a
person charged
and called as a
witness.

Time for taking
accused person’s
evidence.

CH.65 – 76] EVIDENCE





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

174. 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.

175. Where —
(a) a husband is charged with an offence against his

wife, or a wife is charged with an offence
against her husband;

(b) a husband or wife is charged with an offence
against any member of their family living with
them at the time of the commission of the
offence or; if the husband and wife are living
apart, against and member of their family living
with either of them at the time of the
commission of the offence;

(c) a husband or wife is charged with the offence of
bigamy,

the husband or wife, as the case may be, of the person
accused may be called as a witness without the application
of such person and a husband or wife called as a witness in
any such case shall not be entitled to refuse to answer
questions on the ground that the answer to the question
would disclose a communication made during the marriage,
or that it would tend to incriminate the husband or wife of
the witness as to the offence charged.

176. Nothing in this Part shall apply to any
proceeding in which a charge is preferred for the purpose
of trying a civil right only, but in every such case the
husband or wife of the person charged may be called and
examined according to the rules applicable to civil
proceedings.

PART IX
MISCELLANEOUS

177. (1) A banker or officer of a bank shall not, in
any legal proceedings to which the bank is not a party, be
compellable to produce any banker’s book the contents of
which can be proved under this Act, or to appear as a
witness to prove the matters, transactions and accounts
therein recorded, unless by order of a judge made for
special cause.

Right of reply.

Calling of
husband or wife
in certain cases.

Calling of
husband or wife
on trial of civil
right.

Banker’s book.

EVIDENCE [CH.65 – 77



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[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

(2) On the application of any party to a legal
proceeding a court may order that such party be at liberty
to inspect and take copies of any entries in a banker’s book
for any of the purposes of such proceedings.

(3) An order under this section may be made either
with or without summoning the bank or any other party,
and shall be served on the bank three clear days before the
same is to be obeyed, unless the court otherwise directs.

(4) In this section —
“bank” and “banker” mean any person, partnership or

company carrying on banking business;
“banker’s book” include ledgers, day books, cash

books, account books and all other records used in the
ordinary business of the bank, whether those records are in
written form or are kept on microfilm, magnetic tape or
any other form of mechanical or electronic data retrieval
mechanism.

178. (1) In any criminal proceedings the court may
refuse to allow evidence on which the prosecution
proposes to rely to be given if it appears to the court that,
having regard to all the circumstances, including the
circumstances in which the evidence was obtained, the
admission of the evidence would have such an adverse
effect on the fairness of the proceedings that the court
ought not to admit it.

(2) Nothing in this section shall prejudice any rule
of law requiring a court to exclude evidence.

Exclusion of
unfair evidence.