Criminal Justice (Evidence) Act, 1924

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Number 37 of 1924.


CRIMINAL JUSTICE (EVIDENCE) ACT, 1924.


ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

Section

1.

Competency of witnesses in criminal cases.

2.

Evidence of person charged.

3.

Right of reply.

4.

Calling of wife or husband in certain cases.

5.

Provision as to previous Acts.

6.

Short title.

SCHEDULE.

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Number 37 of 1924.


CRIMINAL JUSTICE (EVIDENCE) ACT, 1924.


AN ACT TO AMEND THE LAW OF EVIDENCE IN CRIMINAL CASES. [1st August, 1924.]

BE IT ENACTED BY THE OIREACHTAS OF SAORST?T EIREANN AS FOLLOWS:—

Competency of witnesses in criminal cases.

1.—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 in pursuance of this Act 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) the wife or husband of the person charged shall not, save as in this Act mentioned, be called as a witness in pursuance of this Act except upon the application of the person so charged:

(d) nothing in this Act 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 Act may be asked any question in cross-examination notwithstanding that it would tend to criminate him as to the offence charged:

(f) a person charged and called as a witness in pursuance of this Act 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; or

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

(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 Act 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 Act shall affect the right of the person charged to make a statement without being sworn.

Evidence of person charged.

2.—Where the only witness to the facts of the case called by the defence is the person charged, he shall be called as a witness immediately after the close of the evidence for the prosecution.

Right of reply.

3.—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.

Calling of wife or husband in certain cases.

4.—(1) The wife or husband of a person charged with an offence under any enactment mentioned in the Schedule to this Act may be called as a witness either for the prosecution or defence and without the consent of the person charged.

(2) Nothing in this Act shall affect a case where the wife or husband of a person charged with an offence may at common law be called as a witness without the consent of that person.

Provision as to previous Acts.

5.—This Act shall apply to all criminal proceedings, notwithstanding any enactment in force at the commencement of this Act, except that nothing in this Act shall affect the Evidence Act, 1877.

Short title.

6.—(1) This Act may be cited as the Criminal Justice (Evidence) Act, 1924.

(2) This Act shall come into force on such day as the Minister for Justice shall by order appoint.

SCHEDULE.

Enactments Referred To.

Section 4 .

Session and Chapter.

Short Title.

Enactments referred to.

10 & 11 Vic. c. 84.

The Vagrancy (Ireland) Act, 1847 .

Section 2.

24 & 25 Vic. c. 100.

The Offences against the Person Act, 1861 .

Sections 48, 52, 53 and 54 so far as unrepealed and section 55.

45 & 46 Vic. c. 75.

The Married Women's Property Act, 1882.

Section 12 and section 16.

4 Edw. VII. c. 15.

The Prevention of Cruelty to Children Act, 1904.

The whole Act.