When Original Document Is Unavailable
Shows that better or primary evidence exists as to the proof of fact
in question. It is deemed less reliable.
When Secondary Evidence May Be Introduced?
1. Original document is unavailable (lost, destroyed or cannot be
produced in court)
2. Original document is in adverse party’s custody/control.
3. Original document is a public record.
What Must Be Proved To Admit Secondary Evidence?
1. The execution of the original
2. Loss, destruction or unavailability of all such originals
3. Reasonable diligence and good faith in the search for or attempt
to produce the original.
The Due Execution Can Be Proved Through The Testimony Of Either:
1. The person who executed it
2. The person before whom its execution was acknowledged
3. Any person who was present and saw it executed and delivered or
who thereafter saw it and recognized the signatures, or one
to whom the parties thereto had previously confessed the execution
Intentional destruction of the originals by a party who, however, had
acted in good faith does not preclude his introduction of secondary
evidence of the contents thereof.
When the original is outside the jurisdiction of the court, as when
it is in a foreign country, secondary evidence is admissible.
Secondary evidence may consist of (in the same order):
1. A copy of said document
2. Recital of its contents in an authentic document
3. The recollection of the witnesses
Where the law specifically provides for the class and quantum of
secondary evidence to establish the contents of a document, such
requirement is controlling.
It is not necessary to prove the loss beyond all possibility of
mistake. A reasonable probability of its loss is sufficient, and this
may be shown by bona fide and diligent search for it in place where
it is likely to be found.
Where both parties admit that an instrument has been lost, it is
sufficient to warrant the reception of secondary evidence.
The fact of loss or destruction must, like any other fact, be proved
by a fair preponderance of evidence, and this is sufficient.
The fact that a writing is really a true copy of the original may be
shown by the testimony of a person who has had the opportunity to
compare the copy with the original and found it to be correct. In
order that the testimony of such person may be admissible, it is
sufficient that the original was read to him by another person while
he read the copy and found that it corresponded with what was read
to him. It is also sufficient where the person who made the original
a short time thereafter made a copy by writing down the dictation of
another reading from the original.
As long as the originals of a public document in the possession of
the parties have been proven lost, a certified copy of the document
made before it was lost is admissible as secondary evidence of its
contents, and the burden of proof is upon the party questioning its
authenticity to show that it is not a true copy of the original.
In proving the contents of the original in some authentic document,
it is sufficient if it appears in a private document which is proved
to be authentic. “Authentic” means that the document should be
genuine. It need not be a public document.
It is not expected of a witness to state the contents of a document
with verbal accuracy, it is enough that the substance of the documents