Kuruma v The Queen: PC 8 Dec 1954

(Court of Appeal for Eastern Africa) The defendant appealed against his conviction for unlawful possession of ammunition, saying that the evidence had been obtained by unlawful means, and should not have been admitted against him.
Held: Lord Goddard said: ‘In their Lordships’ opinion the test to be applied in considering whether evidence is admissible is whether it is relevant to the matters in issue. If it is, it is admissible and the court is not concerned with how the evidence was obtained. While this proposition may not have been stated in so many words in any English case there are decisions which support it, and in their Lordships’ opinion it is plainly right in principle.’ However, the court retains a wide discretion to exclude evidence, and: ‘There can be no difference in principle for this purpose between a civil and a criminal case. No doubt in a criminal case the judge always has a discretion to disallow evidence if the strict rules of admissibility would operate unfairly against an accused…. If, for instance, some admission of some piece of evidence, e.g., a document, had been obtained from a defendant by a trick, no doubt the judge might properly rule it out’.

Lord Goddard LCJ
[1955] AC 197, [1954] UKPC 43, [1955] 2 WLR 223, [1955] Crim LR 339, (1955) 119 JP 157, [1955] Crim LR 69, [1955] 1 All ER 236
ApprovedRegina v Leathem 1861
The court overruled an objection to production of a letter which had been discovered in consequence of an inadmissible statement made by the accused: ‘It matters not how you get it; if you steal it even, it would be admissible.’ . .

Cited by:
ConfirmedDubai Aluminium Co Ltd v Al Alawi and Others ComC 3-Dec-1998
The claimants had brought proceedings against their former sales manager for accepting bribes and secret commission from outsiders. In support of their claim the claimants had obtained a search and seizure order and a worldwide freezing injunction, . .
ModifiedJones v University of Warwick CA 4-Feb-2003
The claimant appealed a decision to admit in evidence a tape recording, taken by an enquiry agent of the defendant who had entered her house unlawfully.
Held: The situation asked judges to reconcile the irreconcilable. Courts should be . .
CitedA and others v Secretary of State for the Home Department (No 2) HL 8-Dec-2005
The applicants had been detained following the issue of certificates issued by the respondent that they posed a terrorist threat. They challenged the decisions of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission saying that evidence underlying the . .
CitedRegina v Sang HL 25-Jul-1979
The defendant appealed against an unsuccessful application to exclude evidence where it was claimed there had been incitement by an agent provocateur.
Held: The appeal failed. There is no defence of entrapment in English law. All evidence . .
CitedAttorney General’s Reference No. 3 of 1999 HL 14-Dec-2000
An horrific rape had taken place. The defendant was arrested on a separate matter, tried and acquitted. He was tried under a false ID. His DNA sample should have been destroyed but wasn’t. Had his identity been known, his DNA could have been kept . .
CitedThe Public Prosecution Service v Elliott and Another CANI 28-Sep-2011
The prosecutor appealed against dismissal of the case based upon fingerprint evidence. The prints had been taken digitally using a device which had not been approved as required. . .
CitedPublic Prosecution Service v McKee SC 22-May-2013
Non-approval didn’t devalue fingerprints
The court was asked: ‘what are the statutory consequences if the fingerprints of a defendant have been taken in a police station in Northern Ireland by an electronic device for which the legislation required approval from the Secretary of State, . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Evidence

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.179806