Criminal defence lawyers are usually asked what is hearsay? Hearsay is an objection that is very common during a hearing or trial. It is the most common, and both solicitors and an accused should understand it.
The hearsay rule is contained in section 59 of the Evidence Act. It provides that;
(1) Evidence of a previous representation made by a person is not admissible to prove the existence of a fact that the person intended to assert by the representation.
(2) Such a fact is in this Part referred to as an asserted fact.
There are exceptions to this rule.
To understand the hearsay rule, consider the following example. If A witnessed a person hitting another person, and then told B about it. B cannot give evidence to establish the fact that a person hit another person. The only person that can give that evidence is A themselves.
There are numerous exceptions to the hearsay rule. They are as follows;
It is important to note that the above exceptions apply only to first hand hearsay.
What is the hearsay rule can be best understood by looking at recent cases and their judgments.