Confessions—Preliminary Issues

Peter Mirfield

in Silence, Confessions and Improperly Obtained Evidence

Published in print February 1998 | ISBN: 9780198262695
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682391 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Monographs on Criminal Law and Justice

Confessions—Preliminary Issues

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This chapter discusses the core exclusionary rule for confessions. In Section 76(2) of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, there are two heads to the exclusionary rule: an oppression head and an unreliability head. For purposes of exposition here, the word ‘voluntariness’ and the expression ‘voluntariness rule’ will sometimes be used to comprehend the content of both heads. It is the judicial function to decide all questions of admissibility relating to a confession, the jury function to determine whether or not the confession is true. Both a plea of guilty and an informal admission made in earlier judicial proceedings are, prima facie, admissible in later proceedings. With regard to all judicial confessions, the voluntariness rule in section 76(2) is potentially applicable. This chapter also considers admissions that fall short of full confessions, exculpatory statements, conduct, confessions of non-accused third parties, confessions of co-accused exculpating the accused, confessions of co-accused inculpating the accused, and questioning of the accused on the voir dire.

Keywords: Police and Criminal Evidence Act; exclusionary rule; oppression; unreliability; voluntariness; voluntariness rule; admissibility; judicial confessions; admissions; exculpatory statements

Chapter.  13817 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law

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