evidence obtained illegally

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Evidence obtained by some means contrary to law. At common law, if evidence was obtained illegally (e.g. where there had been a search of premises without a search warrant), that evidence was not inadmissible as a mater of law, but the court might exclude it as a matter of discretion where its prejudicial effect outweighed its probative value. The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 preserves this common law discretion and also provides that the court may refuse to allow evidence on which the prosecution proposes to rely if, having regard to all the circumstances including the circumstances in which the evidence was obtained, the admission of the evidence would have such an adverse effect on the fairness of the proceedings that the court ought not to admit it. In cases involving illegally obtained evidence the court will also have regard to the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act1998. See also confession.

Subjects: Law.

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