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Admissibility of confessions in criminal trials

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dc.contributor.advisor Dlamini, C.R.M.
dc.contributor.author Mbuli, Reuben Johnson
dc.date.accessioned 2010-05-24T07:36:29Z
dc.date.available 2010-05-24T07:36:29Z
dc.date.issued 1993
dc.identifier.other 255905
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10530/269
dc.description A thesis submitted to the Faculty of Law in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor Legum in the Department of Criminal and Procedural Law at the University of Zululand, 1993. en_US
dc.description.abstract A confession may be defined as an out-of-court statement by a suspect in which he or she voluntarily, knowingly and intelligently acknowledges that he or she committed or participated in the commission of a crime and which makes it clear that there is no defence in law that would make his or her conduct lawful. This is what the appeal court meant in the Becker case when it held that a confession must be defined as an unequivocal admission of guilt by an accused person. There is a need that the stringent requirements for the admissibility of confessions should also govern the admissibility of admissions and exculpatory statements. Confessions and admissions remain proper elements in law enforcement and it has been shown in some reported decisions that some criminal cases are capable of solution only by means of confessions and/or admissions. There are three phases that are important in determining whether a confession is admissible in evidence. The first phase is when a suspect is interrogated by the police. This is a phase of our predominantly accusatorial system of criminal procedure. There is a need to protect a suspect against untoward conduct by the police during his interrogation. Our new constitution has incorporated a Bill of Rights, and our common law also protects most of the interests which • are protected by the Bill of Rights (e.g. a suspect is presumed innocent until proved guilty, the privilege against self-incrimination forms part of our law and the right to legal representation is recognized). The second phase is when a confession is recorded either by a magistrate or a justice of the peace. This is a crucial stage because the "YES" and "NO" answers of a suspect on a roneod confession form and additional questions put to him may satisfy a court of law that a confession was made freely and voluntarily be an accused in his sound and sober senses and without having been unduly influenced thereto. This procedure is unique to our law. The third phase is when the admissibility of a confession is challenged in court in a trial within a trial. If a suspect is undefended, he may not adequately exercise his procedural rights. But, if he or she made a confession to a magistrate, a suspect is presumed to have acted freely and voluntarily etc. and a confession is admitted in evidence on its mere production if his or her name corresponds to the name of the person who has signed the confession and if it appears on the document containing the confession that it was made freely and voluntarily and without his or her having been unduly influenced thereto. It is recommended that before an unrepresented suspect is cross-examined on the contents of his confession where he or she has made this possible, he or she should be warned. If after explaining to him or her what cross-examination means the suspect does not understand, a legal representative should be appointed to assist him or her. It is recommended that evidence of a psychologist who has been nominated by an accused should be led where the latter is charged with a serious crime; that police interrogation be reformed in such a way that no one, whether suspected of committing high treason or any other serious crime, shall be subjected to mental torture; physical torture, assault or inhuman or degrading treatment; that the warning given to a suspect prior to the recording of his confession be reformed as discussed in this thesis; that the shift of onus from the state to an accused under certain circumstances be abolished; that the list of persons who may record a confession be increased as recommended in this thesis and that fundamental fairness during the interrogation of a suspect and during the recording of his confession be adopted as a new criterium for the admissibility of confessions. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship University of Zululand, and University of Illinois. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.subject Confession (Law) en_US
dc.title Admissibility of confessions in criminal trials en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US


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