Chapter 15 Selected guidance on approaching questions



(a) Confession is relevant because, if reliable, it amounts to an admission of the offence charged.

The Confession is prima facie admissible – s 76(1) PACE 1984: see The Modern Law of Evidence (‘MLE’) 13th ed at pp454-456.

Concerning 76(2)(b) PACE 1984 (unreliability), the confession may have been self-generated, and not necessarily unreliable by reason of David’s desire to bring to an end his drug withdrawal symptoms: see Crampton and Rennie, see MLE 13th ed at pp462-467. However, it is still arguable that the confession was obtained in ‘in consequence’ of anything said or done (interrogation while naked leading to desire to end humiliation).

Concerning s 76(2)(b) PACE 1984 (unreliability), the absence of a solicitor (s 58 PACE 1984) will not necessarily lead to exclusion – compare Alladice on both causation and unreliability (David knows his rights and refuses to answer questions): see MLE 13th ed at p466. However, in this case one can argue unreliability on the basis of David’s humiliation stemming from the interrogation of him while naked.

In any event, the confession falls to be excluded under s 76(2)(a) PACE 1984 (oppression), having regard to the definition of ‘oppression’ in s 76(8), which includes inhuman or degrading treatment. See also the Greek Case (ECHR): degrading treatment grossly humiliates a person before others. See MLE 13th ed at pp459-462.


Evidence of the finding of the drugs is relevant to the issue of possession and evidence of the weights and scales with traces of cannabis is relevant as circumstantial evidence of intent to supply.

If confession excluded, the admissibility of facts discovered in consequence is not affected – s 76(4) and (5), PACE 1984: see MLE 13th ed at pp494-496.

However, the evidence may still fall to be excluded under s 78 PACE 1984, because it has been obtained as a result of inhuman or degrading treatment. The answer would appear to turn on whether the evidence is necessary to secure a conviction – see Gafgen v Germany, MLE 13th ed at p324.

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