Criminal Evidence Act 1992

Admissibility of documentary evidence.


5.(1) Subject to this Part, information contained in a document shall be admissible in any criminal proceedings as evidence of any fact therein of which direct oral evidence would be admissible if the information—

(a) was compiled in the ordinary course of a business,

(b) was supplied by a person (whether or not he so compiled it and is identifiable) who had, or may reasonably be supposed to have had, personal knowledge of the matters dealt with, and

(c) in the case of information in non-legible form that has been reproduced in permanent legible form, was reproduced in the course of the normal operation of the reproduction system concerned.

(2) Subsection (1) shall apply whether the information was supplied directly or indirectly but, if it was supplied indirectly, only if each person (whether or not he is identifiable) through whom it was supplied received it in the ordinary course of a business.

(3) Subsection (1) shall not apply to—

(a) information that is privileged from disclosure in criminal proceedings,

(b) information supplied by a person who would not be compellable to give evidence at the instance of the party wishing to give the information in evidence by virtue of this section, or

(c) subject to subsection (4), information compiled for the purposes or in contemplation of any—

(i) criminal investigation,

(ii) investigation or inquiry carried out pursuant to or under any enactment,

(iii) civil or criminal proceedings, or

(iv) proceedings of a disciplinary nature.

(4) Subsection (3) (c) shall not apply where—

(a) (i) the information contained in the document was compiled in the presence of a judge of the District Court and supplied on oath by a person in respect of whom an offence was alleged to have been committed and who is ordinarily resident outside the State,

(ii) either F4[section 4F] (which deals with the taking of a deposition in the presence of such a judge and the accused) of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1967, could not be invoked or it was not practicable to do so, and

(iii) the person in respect of whom the offence was alleged to have been committed either has died or is outside the State and it is not reasonably practicable to secure his attendance at the criminal proceedings concerned,


(b) the document containing the information is—

(i) a map, plan, drawing or photograph (including any explanatory material in or accompanying the document concerned),

(ii) a record of a direction given by a member of the Garda Síochána pursuant to any enactment,

F5[(iia) a record of the receipt, handling, transmission or storage of anything by the Forensic Science Laboratory of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform in connection with the performance of its functions to examine and analyse things or samples of things for the purposes of criminal investigations or proceedings or both,]

(iii) a record of the receipt, handling, transmission, examination or analysis of any thing by any person acting on behalf of any party to the proceedings, or

(iv) a record by a registered medical practitioner of an examination of a living or dead person.

(5) Without prejudice to subsection (1)

(a) where a document purports to be a birth certificate issued in pursuance of the Births and Deaths Registration Acts, 1863 to 1987, and

(b) a person is named therein as father or mother of the person to whose birth the certificate relates,

the document shall be admissible in any criminal proceedings as evidence of the relationship indicated therein.

(6) Where information is admissible in evidence by virtue of this section but is expressed in terms that are not intelligible to the average person without explanation, an explanation of the information shall also be admissible in evidence if either—

(a) it is given orally by a person who is competent to do so, or

(b) it is contained in a document and the document purports to be signed by such a person.




Substituted (1.10.2001) by Criminal Justice Act 1999 (10/1999), s. 18(1), S.I. No. 193 of 2001.


Inserted (1.01.2003) by Criminal Justice Act 2006 (26/2006), s. 188(1), commenced as per subs. (2).

Modifications (not altering text):


“Forensic Science Laboratory” construed as “Forensic Science Ireland” (22.06.2014) by Criminal Justice (Forensic Evidence and DNA Database System) Act 2014 (11/2014), s. 172, commenced on enactment.

Change of name of Forensic Science Laboratory of Department of Justice and Equality

172. The part of the Department of Justice and Equality known as the Forensic Science Laboratory before the passing of this Act shall, on and after that passing, be known as Forensic Science Ireland and references in any enactment to the Forensic Science Laboratory of that Department of State shall be construed accordingly.


Term “registered medical practitioner” construed as (3.07.2008) by Medical Practitioners Act 2007 (25/2007), s. 108(1), S.I. No. 231 of 2008.

Construction of references to registered medical practitioner and Medical Council, etc.

108. —(1) Every reference to a registered medical practitioner contained in any enactment or any statutory instrument shall be construed as a reference to a registered medical practitioner within the meaning of section 2.


Editorial Notes:


Certain presumptions in relation documents in any proceedings for relevant offences as defined, to which section applies or would apply, provided (9.08.2011) by Criminal Justice Act 2011 (22/2011), s. 18, S.I. No. 411 of 2011.