Principle of corroboration was applied in the case of Public Prosecutor/People v William Gambini & Stanley Rotheinsten. Prior to the explanation on the principle of corroboration evidence in depth it is advisable for us to explain first what is the court’s general stand in considering the evidence pertaining to the principle of corroboration.

Basically, the court’s general stand in considering the evidence by the witness can be seen accordingly under Section 134 of the Evidence Act 1950, which provides that, “No particular number of witnesses shall in any case be required for the proof of any fact”. So, the courts may act on the testimony of a single witness even though uncorroborated or upon one duly proved documentary evidence. What is pertinent is that the evidence must be credible and derived from reliable sources. However, there are particular situations which the law has recognised as requiring particular care on the part of the judge before it relies on a witness testimony. In such instances, it may be prudent or obligatory for the trier of fact to caution itself as to the evidence before such testimony can be relied upon. This requirement for caution or additional evidence is the subject matter of corroboration.

According to Lord Reading CJ in R v Baskervill [1916] 2 KB 658, “corroboration must be independent testimony which affects the accused by connecting or tending to connect him with the crime. In other words, it must be evidence which implicated him, that is, which confirm in some material particular not only the evidence that a crime has been committed, but also that the prisoner committed it”. Within a few years of this decision, the Court of Appeal in the Straits Settlements, applied these principles in the case of R v Lim Yong Hong  [1919] 14 SSLR 152 where a conviction for retaining stolen property was quashed, one of the reasons being that they was no independent evidence to corroborate the testimony of an accomplice. This principle has been developed mainly by the common law to avoid convictions based on insufficient or unreliable evidence.

 According to that statement and the cited cases, corroborative evidence can also be illustrated as evidence which shows or tend to show that the story of witness that the accused committed the crime is true, not merely that the crime has been committed but it was committed by the accused. Besides that, corroboration can be defined also as an additional supporting evidence to strengthen the previous fact or evidence adduced before the court.

However, not all previous fact, testimony by witness or evidence adduced before the court requires corroboration. This requirement only applies to child witness, accomplice, sexual offences, and an interested witness and for identification of the accused. Last but not least, the major role is played by the judges or court in looking into all the evidence and its corroboration, later the court will decide the case in favour to the party that give the strength and weight relating to the evidence pertaining to the allegation.


12/14/2012 12:32:09 pm

I personally feel that the points being highlighted here would be very helpful for those who needs a better understanding on corroboration as well as for a good judgment to be made on the cases.

angelina fernandez
12/15/2012 12:10:45 pm

an excellent read up on corroboration

Edward Lim
12/19/2012 07:06:48 pm

The author did a good job in elaborating on corroboration.....well done.....


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