Subramaniam v. Public Prosecutor 100 Solicitor's Journal 566 (1956)
In Malaysia, Subramaniam was arrested for possession of
At the time he was found, he had been wounded in a
firefight with police and was wearing a bandolier full of bullets.
Subramaniam claimed he had been kidnapped by communists
guerillas and was acting under duress.
At trial, the judge refused to admit the testimony of
Subramaniam conversations with the terrorists on the grounds they were hearsay.
Subramaniam was unable to find any of the communists to
testify in court.
The Malaysian Trial Court convicted Subramaniam. He
The Malaysian Appellate Court reversed and remanded for a
The Appellate Court found that it was not hearsay
when the object of the evidence was proposed to establish not the truth
of the statement, but simply to show the statements effect on the hearer.
It is hearsay when the object of the evidence was
to establish the truth of what was contained in the statement.
Basically, Subramaniam was not trying to show that the
statements made by the communists were true or untrue, only that they
made statements, that he believed them, and therefore he was acting under
The evidence is only admissible to show Subramaniam's state