The chief question presented by the appeal is the competency of the testimony of W. S. Coursey (above set out), with respect to the defendant’s alleged shortage, the concealment of which, the State contends, was the motive for burning the building and destroying the records of the bank. Upon this evidence the State’s case largely depends. That it is based in part on information obtained from the report of the State bank examiner is conceded, and its incompetency, on the ground of hearsay, is not seriously questioned.
As a general rule, hearsay evidence is not admissible in the trial of causes where substantive rights are involved. S. v. Springs, 184 N. C., 768, 114 S. E., 851. Hence, the courts will not 'ordinarily receive the testimony of a witness as to what some other j)erson told him, as evidence of the existence of the fact asserted. Roe v. Journegan, 175 N. C., 261, 95 S. E., 495. “The narration of conversations correctly is the most difficult fact of memory and expression.” Piffett’s Succession, 37; Lee Ann., 871. Nor will a witness be permitted to testify to facts where his knowledge thereof is derived, in whole or in part, from the unsworn statements of others. King v. Bynum, 137 N. C., 491, 49 S. E., 955. “Evidence, oral or written, is called hearsay when its probative force depends, in whole or in part, upon the competency and credibility of some person other than the witness by whom it is sought to produce it.” 11 A. & E. (2 ed.), 520.
Speaking to the question in S. v. Lassiter, 191 N. C., 210, 131 S. E., 577, Brogden, J., delivering the opinion of the Court, said: “The in*653herent vice of hearsay testimony consists in tbe fact that it derives its value not from tbe credibility of tbe witness himself, but depends upon tbe veracity and credibility of some other person from whom tbe witness got bis information.” This is tbe general rule supported by all tbe authorities on tbe subject. S. v. Green, 193 N. C., 302, 136 S. E., 729.
There are, of course, exceptions to this general rule excluding hearsay evidence, such as admissions, confessions, dying declarations, declarations against interest, ancient documents, declarations concerning matters of public interest, of pedigree, of prescription, of custom, and, in some cases, of boundary, and pars res gestee, but tbe evidence we are now considering comes under none of them. Mima Queen v. Hepburn, 11 U. S., 290.
True tbe defendant, when be came to testify, was asked about the report of tbe State bank examiner, and two of tbe directors of tbe bank also gave evidence in regard to it, but this did not cure tbe original error, as tbe testimony of W. S. Coursey was tbe keystone in tbe arch of tbe State’s case.
For tbe error, as indicated, there must be a new trial, and it is so ordered.