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Chapter

Cover The Modern Law of Evidence

9. Corroboration and care warnings  

This chapter discusses exceptions to the general rule that there is no requirement for evidence to be corroborated. There are three categories of exception (i) where corroboration is required as a matter of law (speeding, perjury, treason, and attempts to commit these offences) and therefore a conviction cannot be based on uncorroborated evidence; (ii) where neither corroboration in a technical sense nor supportive evidence is required as a matter of law, but the tribunal of fact may need to be warned to exercise caution before acting on the evidence of certain types of witness, if unsupported; (iii) five cases in which corroboration is not required as a matter of law, and there is no obligation to warn the tribunal of fact of the danger of acting on the unsupported or uncorroborated evidence, but there is a special need for caution. The five cases are confessions by mentally handicapped persons, identification evidence, lip-reading evidence, cases of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and unconvincing hearsay. Identification evidence is dealt with separately in Chapter 10.

Chapter

Cover Murphy on Evidence

13. The rule against hearsay IV  

The accused’s denials and silence

The rules applicable to confessions are not necessarily applicable to all statements made by a suspect when confronted with his suspected involvement in an offence, because not all such statements are even partly inculpatory. Two situations are of particular importance: those in which the accused denies the allegations put to him, and those in which he remains silent in the face of the allegations. This chapter discusses the following: the accused’s denials; the accused’s silence at common law; the accused’s failure to mention facts when questioned or charged; the accused’s failure to account for objects, substances, or marks; and the accused’s failure to account for their presence at the scene of the offence.

Chapter

Cover Evidence

4. Confessions  

Chapter 4 examines the extent to which evidence of a confession by an accused person may be utilized by the prosecution at trial. It discusses confessions and miscarriages of justice; mandatory and discretionary exclusions; ‘tainting’ of subsequent confessions; warnings on account of ‘mental handicap’; withdrawal of the case from the jury; partly adverse statements; the use of confessions contravening section 76(2) of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984; confessions admissible in evidence only against maker; use of a co-defendant’s confession by a defendant; the voir dire hearing; and reform of the law of confessions.

Chapter

Cover Evidence Concentrate

3. Confessions, and the defendant’s pre-trial silence  

This chapter focuses on confessions and on the defendant’s pre-trial silence. It explains how a defendant may be convicted on the evidence of a confession alone. It analyses the definition of a confession as specified in s82(1) of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE), and how a confession proffered by the prosecution or by a co-defendant may be excluded by rule under PACE. The chapter also considers the preservation of the common law discretion to exclude confession evidence as well as the procedure for police interrogation of suspects under PACE. It examines recent case law on the significance of lack of access to legal advice of a suspect under interrogation. It concludes with an examination of how the jury at trial may draw an inference of guilt under ss34, 36, and 37 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 (CJPO), sections which have eroded the right to silence. The influence of the Strasbourg jurisprudence in this area is outlined.

Chapter

Cover Evidence

11. Confessions  

Titles in the Core Text series take the reader straight to the heart of the subject, providing focused, concise, and reliable guides for students at all levels. This chapter discusses the following: what constitutes a ‘confession’ under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE), s 82(1); when an accused’s silence may amount to an admission at common law, whether a denial can ever amount to a ‘confession’; the conditions of admissibility of confessions under PACE; confessions made by mentally handicapped persons (PACE, s 77); the admissibility of evidence discovered in consequence of an inadmissible confession; using an inadmissible confession to show that the accused speaks, writes, or expresses himself in a particular way; the status of ‘mixed statements’; whether one accused’s admission can ever provide evidence against a co-accused; an accused’s right to use a co-accused’s confession (PACE, s 76A); the admissibility of confessions by third parties.

Chapter

Cover Cross & Tapper on Evidence

XIV. Hearsay in criminal proceedings  

This chapter considers hearsay in light of the Criminal Justice Act 2003. It first discusses the relevant provisions of the act before turning to the rules relating to confessions. Along with confessions, the chapter also takes a look at the evidential value of inferences from the accused's silence. In relation to both, the chapter considers the Codes of Practice relating to different aspects of police investigation, which often form a component in the exercise of the judge's discretion to exclude evidence. In addition, the chapter examines the reforms made to the law of hearsay, including the basic policy of the reform, the general exception, special exceptions for business documents and previous statements of witnesses, the impact of discretion, and provisions relating to the authenticity and weight of hearsay.

Chapter

Cover Sanders & Young's Criminal Justice

5. Police questioning of suspects  

This chapter examines the power of the police to question suspects, both in theory and in practice. It discusses the expanding powers of the police to interrogate, reflecting the drift from due process to crime control; the multiple aims of police interviews; the dwindling away of the right to silence, for example as a result of the introduction of adverse inferences and the ‘sidelining’ of legal advice; the (inadequate) regulation of interrogation, for example, through trial remedies founded on interviews being ‘unfair’ or ‘oppressive’ ; traditional police interview tactics; the development of investigative interviewing, based on the PEACE model; why the innocent confess and the role of coercion and suggestibility in this; and the need for a corroboration rule.

Chapter

Cover The Criminal Process

5. Questioning  

This chapter examines the questioning stage of the criminal process, looking at the role and powers of the police. It covers the context of questioning and interviewing of suspects, interviewing victims, and confessions in court. It argues that confessions remain a suspect type of evidence despite the fact that the police questioning process is well regulated. Police detention will always be stressful, and innocent suspects will always have some incentives for confessing. This is why there is a case to be made for the corroboration of confessions. It is also crucial that the gains made since the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) are not undermined by government initiatives to cut costs by reducing the amount and quality of legal advice available to suspects.

Book

Cover The Modern Law of Evidence

Adrian Keane and Paul McKeown

The Modern Law of Evidence is a comprehensive analysis of the law of criminal and civil evidence and the theory behind the law. It identifies all the key issues, emphasizes recent developments and insights from the academic literature, and makes suggestions for further reading. The work begins with a definition of evidence and the law of evidence and an outline of its development to date. It then describes and analyses the key concepts, such as the facts open to proof, the forms that evidence can take, relevance, admissibility, weight, and discretion. It then proceeds to cover in a logical sequence all aspects of the subject: the burden and standard of proof, proof of facts without evidence, documentary and real evidence, witnesses, examination-in-chief, cross-examination and re-examination, corroboration and care warnings, visual and voice identification, evidence obtained by illegal or unfair means, hearsay, confessions, adverse inferences from an accused’s silence, evidence of good and bad character, opinion evidence, public policy, privilege, and the admissibility of previous verdicts.

Chapter

Cover English Legal System

11. The criminal process: The suspect and the police  

This chapter is concerned with the powers given to the police in order to investigate offences effectively, the limits to those powers, and the circumstances in which they may be exercised. It is concerned in particular with police powers to search, arrest, detain, and question suspects. The chapter also looks at the consequences that may follow when the police misuse their powers or break the rules. In relation to police interviews, it considers both the rules that protect suspects and the extent to which the right to silence has been eroded. Finally, the chapter examines who decides whether to bring a prosecution against a particular suspect and the criteria that are taken into account in making that decision.

Chapter

Cover Concentrate Questions and Answers Evidence

6. Confessions, the defendant’s silence, and improperly obtained evidence  

The Concentrate Questions and Answers series offers the best preparation for tackling exam questions. Each book includes typical questions, bullet-pointed answer plans and suggested answers, author commentary and diagrams and flow charts. This chapter covers three areas: confessions, silence of the accused and judicial discretion to exclude improperly obtained prosecution evidence. It explains how the most persuasive, sometimes only, evidence available to the prosecution is a pre-trial confession. While confessions have long been accepted as evidence of guilt, they have also posed risks of unreliability and violation of individual autonomy. Defendants may not be making a true confession or may have been obtained as a result of pressure. Permissible inferences from a pre-trial failure to respond to questions has the crucial difference that such failure alone cannot found a conviction. English law has previously been unwilling to acknowledge the case for excluding evidence which involves the police acting improperly or even illegally.

Book

Cover Concentrate Questions and Answers Evidence
The Concentrate Questions and Answers series offers the best preparation for tackling exam questions and coursework. Each book includes typical questions, bullet-pointed answer plans and suggested answers, author commentary and illustrative diagrams and flow charts. Concentrate Q&A Evidence offers expert advice on what to expect from your Evidence exam, how best to prepare and guidance on what examiners are really looking for. Written by experienced examiners, it provides clear commentary with each question and answer and bullet points and diagram answer plans plus tips to make your answer really stand out from the crowd and further reading suggestions at the end of every chapter. The book should help the reader identify typical law exam questions, structure a first-class answer, avoid common mistakes, show the examiner what the reader knows and find relevant further reading. After an introduction, the book covers burden and standard of proof, presumptions, competence and compellability, Special Measures Directions, character evidence, hearsay, confessions, the defendant’s silence, improperly obtained evidence, supporting evidence, identification expert opinion, issues in the course of trial, privilege, public policy and mixed questions. The final chapter gives guidance on assessed coursework. The book is suitable for undergraduate law students taking optional modules in Evidence.