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Confessions And Unlawfully Obtained Evidence Notes

BPTC Law Notes > Criminal Evidence Notes

This is an extract of our Confessions And Unlawfully Obtained Evidence document, which we sell as part of our Criminal Evidence Notes collection written by the top tier of City Law School students.

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Syllabus 16: Confessions and Unlawfully Obtained Evidence Confessions are admissible insofar as it is relevant to any issue in the proceedings, and is not excluded on s.76 or s.78 grounds Three grounds for excluding confession evidence
- Obtained by oppression (s.76(2)(a))
- Unreliable in the circumstances (s.76(2)(b))
- Adverse effect on fairness of proceedings (s.78)
* Note: exclusion under s.76 is mandatory if the requirements are met out
* Confessions can be excluded in part Exclusion under s.76 applies in relation to Prosecution only
- Burden on proof is on P to prove beyond reasonable doubt
- Burden arises only in 2 situations

* Where defence raises inadmissibility per s.76(2)(a) or (b)

* Where court on its on volition requires such prove, per s.76(3) Court can also exclude evidence under its common law powers, as preserved by s.82(3)
- i.e. even if confession passes ss.76 and 78 test, court can still exercise its discretion to exclude the confession
- Exclusion of confession evidence at common law was recognised in two contexts:

* Exclusion of unreliable confessions, the prejudicial effect of which could be said to outweigh their true probative value

* Exclusion of confession evidence, the admissibly of which may operate unfairly against the accused
- Exclusion operates unfairly against accused

* Where it is obtained by improper or unfair means: Sang [1980] AC 402

* Where it is obtained in an oppressive manner by force or against the wishes of an accused, or by a trick or by conduct of which the Court ought not to take advantage: Houghton (1978) 68 Cr App R 197
- Use of common law exclusion powers exceedingly rare given wide ambit of s.78

Definition of 'Confession' PACE 1984, s.82: any statement wholly or partly adverse to the person who made it, whether made to a person in authority or not and whether made in words or otherwise Statement disclosing identity of a driver was admissible as a confession if it could be inferred that the accused had written it Guilty plea is a confession
- Retracted guilty plea may also be relied upon as a confession by a co-accused

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