Confessions—The Exclusionary Rule

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—The Exclusionary Rule

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Before discussing the statutory exclusionary rule for confessions, to be found in section 76(2) of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, this chapter briefly examines what may be called the mature exclusionary rule at common law. Section 76(8) of the 1984 Act states that ‘oppression’ includes torture, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the use or threat of violence (whether or not amounting to torture). Sometimes there may be a breach of one of the code provisions, but without it being appropriate to say that there was police impropriety or misconduct. The criterion of unreliability of the challenged confession is defined by section 76(2) (b) not in terms of its actual probative value. In discussing the substantive heads of exclusion, reference has often been made to confessions having been ‘obtained’ or ‘caused’ by oppression, or having been made ‘in consequence of’ or ‘as a result of’ things said or done. The problem of causation in relation to the two heads of exclusion warrants, then, separate discussion.

Keywords: Police and Criminal Evidence Act; exclusionary rule; confessions; common law; oppression; torture; police impropriety; conduct; unreliability; causation

Chapter.  17866 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law

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