Section 128: Confessions
429.This section inserts section 76A of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. The position prior to the insertion of this new section 76A was that whilst the prosecution could not make use of a confession which was obtained in breach of sections 76 or 78 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, a co-defendant could use it to undermine another co-defendant’s account or to strengthen their own case. Instead, section 76A applies the same rules to confessions adduced by the co-defendant to those adduced by the prosecution under sections 76 and 78 of PACE. That is, the confession will not be allowed if obtained by oppression or is rendered unreliable. ‘Oppression’ is defined in identical terms to section 76(8) of PACE.
430.Unlike the requirements for the prosecution, under section 76A(2), the co-accused would only need to satisfy the court on the balance of probabilities that the confession was not obtained by oppression or in circumstances likely to render it unreliable.
431.Subsection (4) maintains the rule that the exclusion of a confession does not affect the admissibility of facts discovered as a result of that confession.