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Silence, Confessions and Improperly Obtained Evidence$
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Peter Mirfield

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198262695

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198262695.001.0001

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Confessions—Preliminary Issues

Confessions—Preliminary Issues

(p.51) 4 Confessions—Preliminary Issues
Silence, Confessions and Improperly Obtained Evidence

Peter Mirfield

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the core exclusionary rule for confessions. In Section 76(2) of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, there are two heads to the exclusionary rule: an oppression head and an unreliability head. For purposes of exposition here, the word ‘voluntariness’ and the expression ‘voluntariness rule’ will sometimes be used to comprehend the content of both heads. It is the judicial function to decide all questions of admissibility relating to a confession, the jury function to determine whether or not the confession is true. Both a plea of guilty and an informal admission made in earlier judicial proceedings are, prima facie, admissible in later proceedings. With regard to all judicial confessions, the voluntariness rule in section 76(2) is potentially applicable. This chapter also considers admissions that fall short of full confessions, exculpatory statements, conduct, confessions of non-accused third parties, confessions of co-accused exculpating the accused, confessions of co-accused inculpating the accused, and questioning of the accused on the voir dire.

Keywords:   Police and Criminal Evidence Act, exclusionary rule, oppression, unreliability, voluntariness, voluntariness rule, admissibility, judicial confessions, admissions, exculpatory statements

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