Confessional Statement Utility In Criminal Trials

Project and Seminar Material for Law

Confessional Statement Utility In Criminal Trials


A person standing trial for a criminal offence enjoys the presumption of innocence until his guilt is proved, the proof of which must be beyond reasonable doubt. Nonetheless, the suspect can confess to the commission of the crime and the court is empowered to convict, based on the weight of such confession. Incidentally, the court is often faced with objections to the admissibility of confessional statements based on the ground of retraction or involuntariness.

Despite increased evidence that confessions may be unreliable, they remain the gold standard of evidence for police investigations. One reason for the rejection of some confessional statements is that when confessions are not voluntary there is the danger of the accused falsely implicating himself. Different countries have different rules governing the admissibility of confessions. These rules serve to guarantee that wrongful convictions do not occur. They also serve as a deterrent to abusive interrogation by the police. Some interrogative techniques violate the defendant’s free-will or procedural rights. In this research work, while relying on judicial and statutory authorities, the researcher takes a look at what confessions are.

He goes further to examine the relationship between confessions, the factors that affect the admissibility of a confessional statement, and other facts related to confessions, options open to an accused person whenever a confessional statement alleged to have been made by him is sought to be tendered before the court and time to raise objection. It also focuses on the trial within trial ordered whenever the admissibility of a confessional statement is challenged on the ground of involuntariness. Particular attention is given to the position of the law in Nigeria, although references are also made to other jurisdictions. This research focuses on extra-judicial confessions.

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