Section 78 PACE

Section 78 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act gives the court powers to exclude evidence from a trial which has been unfairly obtained.

It does not state that the courts must exclude evidence, only that they can. In fact the legislation, and case law specifically allows for evidence that has been obtained improperly to be admitted.

When a court decides if evidence is admissible or not, it must look at the value of that evidence. For example, if a police office did not read the caution correctly to a murder suspect during his arrest and the murderer said, “I killer her and the knife is over there”, and police then recovered the knife, the court is going to allow the evidence of the knife, and probably the confession. If, at the other end of the spectrum, the police used an illegal surveillance to prove evidence of driving without insurance, that evidence may be excluded.

This section has resulted in numerous case law, and is  not to be confused with Section 76, which deals with confessions obtained through oppression.

This article is an attempt to analyse the principles which the courts use to decide whether or not to exercise the discretion to exclude. It starts by examining the decisions of the appellate courts in order to try to identify the factors which the judges regard as relevant to this discretion. Secondly, it examines the possible policies which might underlie a discretion to exclude. It then attempts to match the practice to the policies, and concludes that ‘fairness as fair play’ is the dominant policy currently being used. The conclusion considers how the changes in the rights of the suspect (in particular the right to remain silent) introduced by the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 are likely to impact on the operation of s 78. Source

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Posted in UK Law. Tags: , . 1 Comment »

One Response to “Section 78 PACE”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    If a police officer has enough position in agreement to PACE to arrest the individual they must a minimum communicate with them at an appropriate level this means speaking to them without swearing or having a sarcastic tone. If the individual fails to follow the police orders it can lead to arrestment and taken to the police station as demonstrated by Kenlin V Gardiner case. Another case in which the police failed to communicate was in the ‘Collins V Wilcox’ 1984 case where an officer had suspected that a woman was soliciting in the area in another words was seen as a symbol for a prostitute. The officer failed to speak to the woman about why he stopped and searched her unexpectedly. Taking the womans arm she reacted by scratching him, she was sentence but released due to the ‘battery as part of the police officer’ It was held by the courts keeping in custody has to be taken into account very carefully and if misused can result in the police from losing his role as a police officer and could potentially give him/her a criminal record.


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