Subramaniam v Director of Public Prosecutions: PC 1956

(Malaysia) The defendant sought to advance a defence of duress under a section of the Penal Code of the Federated Malay States which provided that, with certain exceptions, ‘nothing is an offence which is done by a person who is compelled to do it by threats, which, at the time of doing it, reasonably cause the apprehension that instant death to that person will otherwise be the consequence.’ He sought to have admitted evidence of threats made.
Held: What was said to the defendant was admissible to show that the defendant had good reason to fear death or personal injury. Hearsay evidence was admissible as to the state of the defendant’s mind. The appeal was allowed because evidence relied on by the appellant to show that he had had a reasonable apprehension of instant death was wrongly excluded.
The Board recognised the distinction between adducing a statement as evidence of something expressly or impliedly asserted in the statement and simply as evidence that the statement was made: ‘Evidence of a statement made to a witness by a person who is not himself called as a witness may or may not be hearsay. It is hearsay and inadmissible when the object of the evidence is to establish the truth of what is contained in the statement. It is not hearsay and is admissible when it is proposed to establish by the evidence, not the truth of the statement, but the fact that it was made.’


[1956] 1 WLR 965

Cited by:

CitedRegina v Safi (Ali Ahmed); Regina v Ghayur; Regina v Shah; Regina v Showaib; Regina v Mohammidy; Regina v Shohab; Regina v Ahmadi; Regina v Safi (Mahammad Nasir); Regina v Kazin CACD 6-Jun-2003
The defendants appealed convictions after rejection of their defence of duress. They had hijacked an aeroplane in Afghanistan, and surrendered eventually at Stansted. They said they were acting under duress, believing they had no other way of . .
CitedRegina v Hudson and Taylor CACD 17-Mar-1971
Two teenage girls committed perjury by failing to identify the defendant. When prosecuted they pleaded duress, on the basis that they had been warned by a group, including a man with a reputation for violence, that if they identified the defendant . .
CitedBradford and Bingley Plc v Rashid HL 12-Jul-2006
Disapplication of Without Prejudice Rules
The House was asked whether a letter sent during without prejudice negotiations which acknowledged a debt was admissible to restart the limitation period. An advice centre, acting for the borrower had written, in answer to a claim by the lender for . .
CitedRatten v The Queen PC 1-Jul-1971
Res Gestae to admit circumstances of complaint
(Victoria) Evidence had been admitted under the res gestae rule, that a woman making a telephone call was in a hysterical state.
Held: It was properly used. Where a statement is made either by the victim of an attack or by a bystander, which . .
CitedAthwal and Others, Regina v CACD 7-May-2009
The appellants challenged their conviction for murder and sentences. The victim was the young second wife of the first defendant. It was said that she had been unfaithful, and having been lured to India, had been murdered there. She had disappeared, . .
ApprovedRegina v Kearley HL 3-Jun-1992
Telephone calls which were made to the defendant’s phone asking for drugs, but made after the arrest of the defendant for supplying drugs were inadmissible as hearsay. They were adduced to prove, by implication, the fact that he, as an occupier of . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Evidence, Crime, Commonwealth

Updated: 29 April 2022; Ref: scu.183354

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