Search Legislation

The Police and Criminal Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1989

Status:

This is the original version (as it was originally made).

Confessions

Confessions

74.—(1) In any criminal proceedings a confession made by an accused person may be given in evidence against him in so far as it is relevant to any matter in issue in the proceedings and is not excluded by the court in pursuance of this Article.

(2) If, in any criminal proceedings where the prosecution proposes to give in evidence a confession made by an accused person, it isrepresented to the court that the confession was or may have been obtained—

(a)by oppression of the person who made it; or

(b)in consequence of anything said or done which was likely, in the circumstances existing at the time, to render unreliable any confession which might be made by him in consequence thereof,

the court shall not allow the confession to be given in evidence against him except in so far as the prosecution proves to the court beyond reasonable doubt that the confession (notwithstanding that it may be true) was not obtained as aforesaid.

(3) In any criminal proceedings where the prosecution proposes to give in evidence a confession made by an accused person, the court may of its own motion require the prosecution, as a condition of allowing it to do so, to prove that the confession was not obtained as mentioned in paragraph (2).

(4) The fact that a confession is wholly or partly excluded in pursuance of this Article shall not affect the admissibility in evidence—

(a)of any facts discovered as a result of the confession; or

(b)where the confession is relevant as showing that the accused speaks, writes or expresses himself in a particular way, of so much of the confession as is necessary to show that he does so.

(5) Evidence that a fact to which this paragraph applies was discovered as a result of a statement made by an accused person shall not be admissible unless evidence of how it was discovered is given by him or on his behalf.

(6) Paragraph (5) applies—

(a)to any fact discovered as a result of a confession which is wholly excluded in pursuance of this Article; and

(b)to any fact discovered as a result of a confession which is partly so excluded, if the fact is discovered as a result of the excluded part of the confession.

(7) Nothing in Part VIII shall prejudice the admissibility of a confession made by an accused person.

(8) In this Article “oppression” includes torture, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the use or threat of violence (whether or not amounting to torture).

(9) Nothing in this Article shall have effect in relation to criminal proceedings to which section 8 of the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1978(1) applies.

Confessions by mentally handicapped persons

75.—(1) Without prejudice to the general duty of the court at a trial on indictment to direct the jury on any matter on which it appears to the court appropriate to do so, where at such a trial—

(a)the case against the accused depends wholly or substantially on a confession by him; and

(b)the court is satisfied—

(i)that he is mentally handicapped; and

(ii)that the confession was not made in the presence of an independent person,

the court shall warn the jury that there is special need for caution before convicting the accused in reliance on the confession, and shall explain that the need arises because of the circumstances mentioned in sub-paragraphs (a) and (b).

(2) In any case where a person is being tried summarily for an offence it appears to the court that a warning under paragraph (1) would be required if the trial were on indictment, the court shall treat the case as one in which there is a special need for caution before convicting the accused on his confession.

(3) In this Article—

“independent person” does not include a constable or a person employed for, or engaged on, police purposes;

“mentally handicapped” in relation to a person means that he is in a state of arrested or incomplete development of mind which includes significant impairment of intelligence and social functioning; and

“police purposes” includes the purposes of police cadets undergoing training with a view to becoming members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary and of civilians employed for the purposes of that Constabulary or of any such cadets.

Back to top

Options/Help

Print Options

Close

Legislation is available in different versions:

Latest Available (revised):The latest available updated version of the legislation incorporating changes made by subsequent legislation and applied by our editorial team. Changes we have not yet applied to the text, can be found in the ‘Changes to Legislation’ area.

Original (As Enacted or Made):The original version of the legislation as it stood when it was enacted or made. No changes have been applied to the text.

Close

Opening Options

Different options to open legislation in order to view more content on screen at once

Close

More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources