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Report No. 87

IV. Evidence illegally obtained in England

Evidence not inadmissible because of force.- However, evidence extracted without the consent of the person concerned is not necessarily inadmissible. A note in the Law Quarterly Review1 has put the position thus:

"It is clearly reasonable and just that a strict rule should apply to confessions and to other statements made in answer to questions asked by the police. Such an answer or statement is not admissible unless it is shown to have been in the sense that it has not been obtained by any threats or inducements. This distinction between statements and confessions on the one hand and what may be termed physical evidence2 on the other is an entirely rational one, because the danger in the case of confessions and statements is that they may be false. On the other hand physical evidence cannot be affected by any threats or inducements. The Judges' Rules concerning the admission of confessions do not therefore apply to fingerprints."

1. Note on Callis v. Gunn, (1963) 3 WLR 935: (1964) 80 LQR 17 (18).

2. Note the expression 'physical evidence'.

Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920 Back

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