HC Deb 20 May 1938 vol 336 c771

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

1.8 p.m.

Mr. Spens

This is a protective Clause. The court simply takes the document and gives to it what weight it thinks it right to give to it as evidence, having regard to the accuracy or otherwise disclosed on the face of the document, and all the circumstances under which the statement was made. It takes into consideration particularly the question whether or not the statement was made contemporaneously with the occurrence, or otherwise. It is left entirely to the court, whether magistrates or judges, to say exactly what weight should be given to the particular document. There is complete protection against the making of false documents. If the circumstances are not known or the statement is not contemporaneous with the occurrence or existence of the facts, the court would attach less weight to the document as against other evidence.

Mr. Goldie

There is one suggestion that I should like to make in connection with this Clause where we are dealing with civil matters. I think it might be a good thing if we transferred Sub-section (2) to Clause 3. The only civil case that I can think of in which you need corroboration, is breach of promise, whereas there are one or two criminal offences such as perjury and where the evidence of a child who is too young to give evidence on oath in which corroboration is necessary. I suggest that Sub-section (2) should be transferred to Clause 3 and that would make the Sub-section relate to criminal as well as civil proceedings.

Question put, and agreed to.