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EVIDENCE - ADMISSIBILITY OF EVIDENCE - HEARSAY - STATEMENTS BY
DECEASED PERSONS - DECLARATIONS AGAINST INTEREST - INTEREST
MUST BE PECUNIARY OR PROPRIETARY - DECLARATIONS AGAINST
PECUNIARY INTEREST - OBLIGATION RECOGNISED NOT LEGALLY
BINDING


The admissibility oI a declaration against interest must be judged at the time when it is
tendered in evidence, and a declaration by a deceased person which appears to be against the
pecuniary interest oI declarant is admissible in evidence even though the obligation
recognised by the declaration is only a moral, and not a legal or contractual, obligation. C
habitually transported a Iellow-workman to their place oI work on the pillion seat oI his solo
motor cycle. On one such journey both workmen were killed in an accident. The passenger`s
widow obtained judgment against C`s administratrix, but the judgment went unsatisIied as
C`s policy oI insurance did not cover pillion passengers. The passenger had been seen by his
widow to set money aside once a week, and by his widow and sister-in-law to give money to
C on occasions when the passenger was getting oII C`s motor cycle, had been heard by his
widow to say that he was putting the money aside Ior C Ior taking him to work, and had been
heard by his widow and sister-in-law telling C that he had best settle up with him now or that
C had best have the money now. The passenger`s widow brought an action against the Motor
Insurers` Bureau in respect oI the unsatisIied judgment; in this action evidence oI these
declarations was admitted initially de bene esse, and the question was whether C had been
bound to insure the passenger while carrying him on the pillion seat: Held (1) although the
declarations were admissible in evidence since they were against the passenger`s pecuniary
interest, yet they merely established, as a matter oI inIerence, that there was an arrangement
whereby the passenger paid C an unascertained weekly amount Ior transporting him to and
Irom work; (2) neither party intended this arrangement to be a legally binding contractual
relationship; (3) a solo motor cycle on which a passenger is carried Ior hire or reward is a
motor vehicle within Road TraIIic Act 1930 (c 43), s 36 (1) (b) (ii), but that enactment
applied only where a passenger was being carried Ior hire or reward under a legally binding
contract, express or implied, and thereIore did not apply in the present case; accordingly the
policy oI insurance which C was required by section 35 (1) oI the 1930 Act to have in Iorce
did not have to cover the passenger, so that his widow was not entitled to recover Irom the
Motor Insurers` Bureau.