The Law on the Admissibility of Confession Evidence

In order to determine whether a confession by the accused can be admissible, the courts need to examine the circumstances and conditions under which the confession was made. S76, 76a and 77 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 lays down the criteria needed to be met in order for the confession to be regarded as admissible. S76 specifically states that confessions should only be adduced at court if the confession is relevant to the matter at hand. This section goes on to start that if the accused alleges that the confession has been obtained through oppression then the confession would be deemed to be inadmissible by the courts1.
Oppression was not accepted by the courts in R v Pham [2009]2, in which the accused alleged that the admissions he had made concerning his conspiracy to produce cannabis were untrue and that he had made these confessions under oppression fearful that he was going to be a suspect in the murder if he did not. The court, in this case, instructed the jury that the confession should only be disregarded if they believed it to be untrue given the circumstances under which it was made. The jury determined the confession to be true despite the allegation of oppression. Similarly in R v Khyam [2008]3 the court accepted that the treatment that the defendant had been submitted to in Pakistan would have amounted to oppression as he had been tortured and ill-treated in custody. However, as no reference was made to his confession in Pakistan when he was interviewed in the UK the court refused to accept that the accused was being subjected to oppression when he made his confession in the UK.
In the case of R v Mushtaq [2005]4 the appeal was dismissed, however, the judges were reminded of the need to adhere to s76(2) of PACE 1984 when giving directions to the jury with regard to the admissibility of confessions. In this case, the defendant was attempting to have his conviction quashed on the grounds that the judge in the original hearing had instructed the jury that, in relation to the confession.