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4.5.1 - Charge: Confessions and Admissions

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In this case, you heard evidence that NOA admitted that s/he had [describe the content of the admission]. The prosecution says that this evidence is relevant to [identify relevant charge and the way in which that admission is alleged to be relevant].

Before you can use this evidence, you must consider two matters.

First, you must accept that the accused actually made the alleged admission in the terms alleged by NOW. That is, you must accept that NOA [insert relevant details, e.g., ‘said to NOW "I killed NOV"’].[1]

Secondly, you must accept that the accused’s alleged admission was truthful. This requires you to accept that when NOA [insert relevant details, e.g., ‘said "I killed NOV"’], s/he meant to admit [describe fact in issue, e.g. "that s/he killed NOV"], and that that admission was, in fact, true.[2]

If a warning under Jury Directions Act 2015 s32 is necessary, add the following shaded section

In considering this evidence, I must warn you of the need for caution when considering NOW’s evidence of the alleged admission.

Matters that may cause unreliability

I must give you this warning [3] because it is the experience of the law that evidence of admissions may be unreliable. This is because [identify the significant matters that may cause the evidence to be unreliable. Some possibilities include:

[The judge should also identify any other factors that may have a bearing on the reliability of the evidence in the case, such as any inconsistencies that exist between different admissions that have been made.]

Warning

The law says that every jury must take this potential unreliability into account when considering evidence of an admission. You must take it into account in determining whether you accept NOW’s evidence at all, and if you do accept it, in deciding what weight to give to that evidence.

In this case, the prosecution argued that NOA made the alleged admission, and that that admission was truthful. [Describe relevant prosecution evidence and/or arguments].

The defence denied this, arguing [describe relevant defence arguments, e.g., "that NOA never made the admission" or "that while NOA did make an admission, his/her statement was not truthful because s/he was only boasting about having committed the offence" or "that while NOA made a truthful statement, it was not an admission that s/he had …"]. [Summarise relevant defence evidence.]

It is for you to determine, based on all of the relevant evidence, whether NOA made the statement NOW said s/he did, and whether that statement was truthful. Unless you accept that both of these matters have been proven, you must disregard the evidence of NOA’s alleged admission.

 [If the admission is the only evidence of one or more elements, add the following shaded section]

You will remember my directions the prosecution must prove its case beyond reasonable doubt. In this case, the only evidence that [identify relevant elements or facts in issue] is the evidence that [describe evidence of admission]. It follows that you cannot be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that [identify relevant elements or relevant facts in issue] unless you are satisfied, beyond reasonable doubt, of the two matters I have described; that NOA made this admission and that it was true.

Notes

[1] This part of the charge may be deleted if the accused does not dispute making the admission, but simply disputes its truthfulness.

[2] This part of the charge may be deleted if the accused disputes making the admission, but does not dispute its content.

[3] The judge should add any other matters that may cause the evidence to be unreliable, such as if the evidence comes from an accomplice. If the evidence is given by a prison informer, use Charge: Confession to Prison Informer instead.

Last updated: 9 March 2017

See Also

4.5 - Confessions and Admissions

4.5.2 - Charge: Withdrawn Committal Plea