Chapter

Introduction

Peter Mirfield

in Silence, Confessions and Improperly Obtained Evidence

Published in print February 1998 | ISBN: 9780198262695
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682391 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198262695.003.0009

Series: Oxford Monographs on Criminal Law and Justice

Introduction

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This book explores three topics in the law of evidence which might once have been considered separately but which are now so interwoven that such an approach seems no longer eligible. They are the law relating to confessions, the law concerned with unlawfully or unfairly obtained evidence, and that concerned with the evidential effects of the accused's right to silence when questioned by the police. Before the decision of the House of Lords in Sang, there already existed a well-established exclusionary rule for confessions obtained by threats, promises, or oppression, together with an exclusionary discretion for cases where rules laid down by the judges and others to govern police questioning had been breached. As regards non-confession evidence, by contrast, there were but a collection of post-World War II dicta recognising, in principle, a judicial discretion to exclude such evidence where obtained unfairly and two briefly-reported Court of Criminal Appeal cases in which the trial judge's decision not to exercise that discretion in favour of exclusion had been overturned.

Keywords: confessions; law; unlawfully obtained evidence; right to silence; police questioning; exclusionary rule; threats; Court of Criminal Appeal; judicial discretion; exclusion

Chapter.  2545 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law

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