Compelled Self-incrimination and Incriminating Silence

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

Compelled Self-incrimination and Incriminating Silence

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This chapter deals with the evidential use of incriminating material at a criminal trial. Where the law provides for the examination of the citizen under the compulsion of punishment for failure to answer satisfactorily, it is plain that there is every chance of incriminating statements being made. Equally, the law does allow for forms of compulsory gathering of non-confession evidence by the police or by others acting in an investigatory role. There is considerable interest in the history of the ‘privilege against self-incrimination’ or the ‘right to silence’, particularly in the United States. This chapter also examines the compulsory examination of suspects and others, exclusion under the evidential provisions of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, compulsory acquisitions of non-confession evidence, evidential use of adverse inferences, exclusion of unfair evidence of silence, the common law relating to implied admissions, and evidential effects of pre-trial non-disclosure or defective disclosure.

Keywords: Police and Criminal Evidence Act; defective disclosure; police; right to silence; exclusion; adverse inferences; unfair evidence; implied admissions

Chapter.  30869 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law

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