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To contradict; to do away as, every homicide is presumed to be murder, unless the contrary appears from evidence which proves the death; and this presumption it lies on the defendant to rebut by showing that it was justifiable or excusable.
That which is given by a party in the cause to explain, repel, counteract or disprove facts given in evidence on the other side. The term rebutting evidence is more particularly applied to that evidence given by the plaintiff, to explain or repel the evidence given by the defendant.
It is a general rule that anything may be given as rebutting evidence which is a direct reply to that produced on the other side and the proof of circumstances may be offered to rebut the most positive testimony.
But there are several rules which exclude all rebutting evidence. A party cannot impeach the validity of a promissory note which he has made or endorsed; nor impeach his own witness, though he may disprove, by other witnesses, matters to which he has testified, nor can be rebut or contradict what a witness has sworn to, which is immaterial to the issue. Parties and privies are estopped from contradicting a written instrument by parol proof, but this rule does not apply to strangers. But the parties may prove that before breach the agreement was abandoned, or annulled by a subsequent agreement not in writing. And when the writing was made by another, as where the log-book stated a desertion, the party affected by it may prove that the entry was false or made by mistake.