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NCJ Number: 67214 Find in a Library
Title: ADMISSIBILITY OF CONFESSIONS IN THE CANADIAN JUSTICE SYSTEM
Journal: POLICE JOURNAL  Volume:53  Issue:2  Dated:(APRIL/JUNE 1980)  Pages:128-137
Author(s): B J SAXTON
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 10
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: IN CANADA, THE EFFECTIVENESS OF EXISTING RIGHTS ARGUES AGAINST REVISING POLICE QUESTIONING PROCEDURES THAT LIMIT CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH CONFESSIONS ARE ALLOWED.
Abstract: A LAW REFORM COMMISSION PROPOSAL THAT CONFESSIONS MADE BY THE ACCUSED BE GIVEN BEFORE AN OUTSIDE (NONPOLICE) OFFICIAL WORKS AGAINST THE POLICY OF POLICE QUESTIONING, AN INTEGRAL PART OF INVESTIGATIVE PROCEDURE. FOR EXAMPLE, CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE WITHOUT A CONFESSION IS OFTEN INADEQUATE TO ESTABLISH GUILT. MOREOVER, MANY CRIMES ARE SOLVED SOLELY ON THE BASIS OF A CONFESSION. THE PROPOSAL PROVIDES THE ACCUSED WITH A MEANS OF 'BEATING THE SYSTEM,' POSSIBLY ENFORCING ANTISOCIAL BEHAVIOR, AS WELL AS DEPRIVING THE COURT OF THE 'FULL STORY.' THE FEAR OF BEING CAUGHT WOULD BE LESSENED BY WEAKENED POLICE PROCEDURE AND THUS WOULD BE A BACKWARD STEP IN CRIME PREVENTION AND DETECTION. LANDMARK JUDICIAL AND LEGISLATIVE PRECEDENTS OVER THE YEARS HAVE RECOGNIZED THE ACCUSED'S RIGHTS AND REGULATE THE ADMISSION OF STATEMENTS MADE BY THE ACCUSED, DISTINGUISHING BETWEEN FREE AND VOLUNTARY CONFESSIONS AND ONES FORCED BY FLATTERY, HOPE, OR FEAR. ADDITIONAL SAFEGUARDS INCLUDE THE CRIMINAL CODE REQUIREMENT OF A VOIR DIRE TO ESTABLISH THE VOLUNTARY NATURE OF AN ADMISSION, PROVINCIAL OMBUDSMEN, COMPLAINT BUREAUS AND INTERNAL INVESTIGATION DEPARTMENTS WITHIN POLICE DEPARTMENTS, AND INCREASED POLICE AWARENESS OF THE RISKS OF WORKING OUTSIDE THE PARAMETERS OF CRIMINAL LAW. RATHER THAN ADOPTING THE PROPOSAL, THE EMPHASIS SHOULD BE ON THE STUDY OF CRIME CAUSATION, REFORMATION OF SUBSTANTIVE LAW, AND IMPLEMENTATION OF ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL POLICIES WHICH MIGHT HELP PREVENT DEVIANT BEHAVIOR. FOOTNOTES AND FOUR REFERENCES ARE INCLUDED. THE ENGLISH JUDGES' RULES ARE APPENDED.
Index Term(s): Canada; Coercive persuasion of offenders; Confessions; Law reform; Police legal limitations; Police-offender relations; Right against self incrimination; Rights of the accused; Suspect interrogation
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=67214

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