Pre-trial Confession and Right Against Self-incrimination

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PRE- TRIAL CONFESSION AND RIGHT AGAINST SELF- INCRIMINATION Monalisa Banerjee1
Abstract
In the law of criminal evidence, a confession is a statement by a suspect in crime which is adverse to that person. The word ‘confession’ is no where defined, neither in Evidence Act nor in Criminal Law Procedure, however Justice Stephen in his Digest of the Law of Evidence defined confession as “confession is an admission made at any time by a person charged with a crime stating or suggesting the inference that he committed that crime.” A confession, if voluntary and truthfully made is an ‘efficacious proof of guilt’. Thus, it is an important piece of evidence and therefore it would be necessary to examine whether or not the confession made by the appellant was voluntary, true and trustworthy. Confessions are an efficient method of crime investigation and detection. An admission of responsibility and guilt is an important step toward a defendant’s rehabilitation. One risk of relying too heavily on interrogations is coerced and false confessions. The poor and uneducated are likely to be particularly vulnerable to coercion and trickery. Confessions, in effect, result in guilt being determined at the pretrial stage rather than in a trial courtroom presided over by a judge and decided by a jury. The constitutional regulation of interrogations is designed to assure that confessions are the product of fair and regular procedures and are not the result of police coercion. Surrounding this confession there are many issues, as of how this confession is regarded, by whom it done or who gives it, whether confession to a police officer is admissible as evidence, whether the compelled confession is violating the right against self incrimination guaranteed under Article 20(3) of the Constitution. Thereby, an honest attempt has been made on part of the author going to the roots of the criminal justice system to bring to light the crux of the pre-trial confession and whether it is following the Miranda Rules of voluntariness or going against the Constitutional provision. The focus of this Paper is mainly to explore the definition, status, relevance and relations of the concept of Pre- Trial Confession, its importance and the assurance of the privilege against self-incrimination. To take a glimpse how Article 20(3) of the Constitution of India and the Right to Silence are connected. “…..throughout the web of English criminal law, one golden thread is always to be seen, that it is the duty of the prosecution to prove the prisoner’s guilt” The ‘right to silence’ is a principle of common law and it means that normally courts or tribunals of fact should not be invited or encouraged to conclude, by parties or prosecutors, that a suspect or an accused is guilty merely because he has refused to respond to questions put to him by the police or by the Court. To explore the connection between the right to silence and confession made by the person. Key Words: Confession, Self-Incrimination, Human Rights, Fair Trial, Scientific Techniques, Right to Silence PRE- TRIAL CONFESSION AND RIGHT AGAINST SELF-INCRIMINATION

INTRODUCTION

In criminal law, confession evidence is a prosecutor's most potent weapon-so potent that …." the introduction of a confession makes the other aspects of a trial in court superfluous.” …… Saul M. Kassin2 “It is often said that, “The essence of knowledge is, having it to apply it”. As in this globalization era, criminals are well acquainted with techniques of crime hence police should also depend upon some scientific techniques such as Norco-Analysis, Brain Fingerprinting and Polygraph Test.”

The essential object of the criminal justice system is to protect society against criminals and law-breakers. For this purpose the law holds out threats of punishments to prospective lawbreakers as well as attempts to make the actual offenders suffer the prescribed punishments for...
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