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OPINION EVIDENCE (SEC 45-51)

I. INTRO

 Witnesses are generally not allowed to inform the court of the inferences they draw from

facts perceived by them, but must confine their statements to an account of such facts.

 If the witness interprets the facts which he perceives he is offering his opinion.

Types (Saad Bin Mat Takraw)

expert opinion non expert

II. RELEVANCY OF EXPERT OPINION

A. SEC 45

1. is the exception to the general rule that the opinion of witnesses is not
relevant.

2. Expert opinion is relevant when it involves issues under

a) Foreign law

b) Science or art

c) Handwriting

d) Finger impression

3. Foreign law

Bristow v Sequville (1850)

 A person is said to be an expert in foreign law if he has practiced that foreign law in the

course of his profession for a considerable time or held any office concerning or dealing

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with such foreign law.

4. Science or art

Chandra Sekaran & Ors v PP-

 the expression ‘science or art’ does not specify particular fields of knowledge does not

mean that they are not included.

 In this case the court was concerned with whether a document had been typed on a certain

typewriter. Expert evidence on this issue was allowed on the basis that ‘expert opinion on

typewriting is as much a matter of science study as handwriting and finger print evidence’.

5. Finger impression

PP v Toh Kee Huat

The evidence of fingerprint experts is said to have reached a degree of precision.

B. SECTION 46
Section 46.

Facts not otherwise relevant are relevant if they support or are inconsistent with the opinions of

experts when such opinions are relevant.

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1. support expert opinion - relevant

a) Khoo Hi Chiang v PP

In support of his evidence an expert may prove experiments, inspection and other
acts upon which his opinion is based although they were done in the absence of the

party.

2. x support – pon relevan

C. S. 60

(2) The opinion of experts expressed in any treatise commonly offered for sale and the grounds

on which such opinions are held may be proved by the production of the treatise if the author is

dead or cannot be found or has become incapable of giving evidence, or cannot be called as a

witness without an amount of delay or expense which the court regards as unreasonable.

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D. S.399 CPC

During the course of his testimony the expert may have to refer to documentary and
real evidence to support and illustrate his testimony.

Sometimes the experts will need to rely on treatises and other extrinsic materials to
support his opinion.

E. S. 51 G ROUNDS OF OPINION WHEN RELEVANT

a) Dia leh substantiate opinion dia guna apa2 grounds. ground tu

relevant. Means apa2 opinion kena la ada sebab

b) PP v Yiau Swee Tung-

(1) Although an expert witness may use his knowledge and


experience to express his opinion, a bare expression of his opinion has

no evidential value at all.

c) Contoh, expert leh ckp si mati mati sbb benda tumpul bukan state
same yg bunuh

III. HOW COMPETENT MUST THE EXPERT BE?

A. J UNAIDI BIN ABDULLAH V PP

1. Academic qualification

2. Experience

3. Training

KHOO HI CHIANG V P.P. (1994) 1.M.L.J. 765 (SC) :

- The prosecution failed to prove the competence of the gov chemist as it was not shown

that he had the expertise or experience in the analysis of dangerous drugs.

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IV. CONFLICTING EXPERT EVIDENCE:

A. CHOOSE ONE

Collector of Land Revenue v Alagappa Chettiar

Where both parties to the proceedings tender expert OPINION evidence, the judge is at liberty

to choose which evidence or testimony he prefers but must nevertheless give reasons as to y he

preferred 1 expert’s opinion rather than that of other

B. THE COURT CAN CALL AN ADDITIONAL EXPERT.

C. THE COURT CAN REJECT BOTH EXPERT AND DECIDE THE CASE BASED ON OTHER
EVIDENCE AVAILABLE.

V. EXPERT OPINION IS NOT BINDING

Kulasingam v. Thambipillai (1997)

“Expert witness may give opinion evidence but the court is free to draw its own conclusions.”

VI. WHEN EXPERT OPINION IS NECESSARY?

A. WHEN THE ISSUE BEYOND THE COMMON KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE OF


JUDGE

R. v. Turner, 1975

“If on the proven facts a judge or jury can form their own conclusions without help, then the

opinion of an expert is unnecessary. In such a case if it is given dressed up in scientific jargon it

may make judgment more difficult. The fact that an expert witness had impressive qualifications

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does not by that fact alone make his opinion on matters of human nature any more helpful than

the jurors themselves; but there is a danger that they may think it does.”

VII. PROBATIVE VALUE OF EXPERT OPINION

1. corroborative nature to the facts and circumstances of the case.

2. If the expert opinion contradicts an unimpeachable eye witness or


documentary evidence then it will not have an upper hand over direct evidences.