Written by  Joseph Burke 2015-04-22

Why a confession might not result in a conviction

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When a crime comes to the attention of the authorities, and a suspect is identified, a recorded interview usually takes place. Often, this results in a confession, where the accused makes admissions of guilt, or of facts that would tend to prove guilt at trial. Sometimes, however, such a confession is unable to be used in evidence.

An admission maybe too ambiguous. For it to be admissible, it should be unequivocal and inconsistent with innocence.

Admissions should also be voluntary. If obtained through inducements or undue pressure or violence, then the confession isn't voluntary and as such can't be used as evidence.

Inducement occurs when it is made by a person in authority. It could be in the form of a police officer offering not to oppose bail in return for answers. It could also be in the form of suggesting that the outcome could be worse if the suspect refuses to answer questions. Another form of inducement would be threatening to charge another person.

Ambiguity and voluntariness are just a few of the issues that can affect the admissibility of a confession. Other issues include unlawful detention, intoxication and mental illness. If you have any concerns about a confession or admission made in a record of interview, contact a criminal lawyer on 03 9008 6992.


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