Hearsay and Confrontation in Criminal Trials

By Andrew L.-T. Choo | Go to book overview

3
The Hearsay Rule in Operation (and Inoperation)

This Chapter considers diverse situations which are linked in some way to the rule against hearsay. They range from situations in which the hearsay rule has been applied with vigour, with resulting unfairness to accused persons, to situations in which the rule has been ignored or misapplied. The aim in this Chapter is not to develop a particular theme, but simply to highlight the fact that the hearsay rule is a potentially far-reaching one, albeit one which has been conveniently sidestepped in some circumstances.


THE LEGACY OF MYERS

Myers was applied by the Privy Council in two cases soon afterwards. In Joitabbai s/o Khodabhai Patel v. Comptroller of Customs1 it was held that legends written on bags which read 'produce of Morocco' could not be used to prove that the goods contained in the bags were produced in Morocco. Similarly, the Privy Council held on the same day in Comptroller of Customs v. Western Lectric Co. Ltd.2 that words indelibly stamped into various implements could not be admitted in evidence to prove their country of origin.3

Much academic ink has been spilt on the issue of whether the decision of the Court of Criminal Appeal in R. v. Rice4 represents good law. This decision pre-dated Myers and was relied upon both in the decision of the Court of Criminal Appeal in Myers (which was later to be overturned by the House of Lords), and in Lord Pearce's dissenting speech in the House of Lords. The majority of the House of Lords made no mention of the case.

At issue in Rice was the admissibility in evidence of a used airline ticket which bore two names, Rice and Moore, to prove that either of them had taken particular flights. The ticket was produced by an airline representative

____________________
1
[ 1966] AC 356.
2
[ 1966] AC 367.
3
See also R. v. Sealby [ 1965] 1 All ER 701; R. v. van Vreden ( 1973) 57 Cr.App.R 818; R. v. Brown [ 1991] Crim. LR 835 (evidence of name on shoe cannot be admitted to prove ownership of shoe).
4
[ 1963] 1 QB 857.

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