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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

Introductory remarks on the law of evidence  

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 introductory chapter discusses the origins of a ‘law of evidence’ and the properties of the law of evidence. The law of evidence is rapidly evolving and, particularly in criminal cases, the Criminal Procedure Rules have transformed the environment within which they operate. Since it determines the critical issue of which particular items of proof parties are permitted to produce before a court in support of their contentions, it would be hard to exaggerate the subject’s importance and relevance.

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.