Confession - Case Study Example

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Elizabeth and Fiona are both jointly charged with burglary. They both deny the charges. Elizabeth has limited understanding of English. The police question both of them separately at the police station. Elizabeth is questioned for four hours without a break…
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Confession
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Download file to see previous pages Fiona, who has a mental age of 12, is also questioned before the arrival of her solicitor and she admits after 2 hours of questioning that she did assist Elizabeth, but she only did so because she finds her intimidating.
Elizabeth and Fiona have previous convictions for burglary and theft and are anxious that these should not be revealed to the jury. Elizabeth informs you that she was at home with her partner James at the time of the alleged offence and has therefore been wrongfully charged. Elizabeth instructs you that James is willing to give evidence on her behalf. Fiona claims that she did inform the interviewing officer of her wish to have her solicitor present before she was interviewed, the officer she claims offered to deal with her leniently if she admitted to her participation in the offence.
Are the confessions obtained by the police from Elizabeth and Fiona in the interview admissible as evidence in the offence charged against them Is James qualified to give testimonial evidence in behalf of Elizabeth And will the previous conviction of Elizabeth and Fiona for burglary and theft admissible as evidence against them in this case
The current laws of the United Kingdom admit confession as a form of testimonial evidence in an offence charged against a defendant. However, in order to be admissible, a confession is subject to certain conditions or requirements. Confession that was obtained through oppression or violation of the defendant's (human) rights is excluded or inadmissible as evidence in the offence charged against him. To understand the admissibility of the confessions and to answer other relevant issues in this case, it is first essential to analyze history, definition and the conditions for a confession to be admissible as evidence in criminal cases.
Historical Perspectives on the Issues Relating to Confessions
Most of the decisions in criminal cases at the United Kingdom were based on common law. Under this law, evidence even if improperly obtained is admissible as long as it is relevant to an issue of a case. "A trial judge has no discretion to refuse the acceptance of relevant evidences on the ground that it was improperly obtained or obtained through unfair means" (R v Sang, 1979, UKHL 3).
However, with the passage of time, new codes were passed in the United Kingdom that limited or modified the use of common law in deciding cases. Important of these laws are the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, herein referred to as PACE 1984, and the Criminal Justice Act 2003 that will be the primary bases of the arguments to be laid down in this presentation.
The Police and Criminal Evidence Act of 1984 (PACE) (1984 c. 60) is an Act of Parliament which instituted a legislative framework for the powers of police officers in England and Wales to combat crime, as well as providing codes of practice for the exercise of this powers"
On the other hand, the Criminal Justice Act of 2003 provides guidelines on the admissibility in criminal proceedings of various evidences.
The passage of these laws gave a new requirement for evidence to be admissible in criminal cases, that is, competency. In general, evidence is admissible in court proceedings if it is competent and relevant. Evidence is competent if it is not excluded by any rule of law, and it is relevant if it has a logical connection in the facts in issue. Evidence obtained violating these requirements is inadmissible in cour ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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