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Invalidity of a Confession

Confession is regarded as the strongest means of evidence, upon which a judge is prompted to issue a particular verdict for conviction.

Despite this, a confession given under duress or coercion, even if it is factual, is not a valid confession and cannot legally be relied upon. It is imperative that the confession, concerning the accident in question, is clear and explicit, and is not subject to interpretation.

Accordingly, a confession is considered invalid if it is the result of invalid procedures, and there exists a causal link between the invalid procedure and the confession (whether the procedure was carried out prior to or simultaneous with the confession). If however, the allegedly invalid procedure takes place subsequent to, or independent of the confession, the confession would be legally acceptable. 

An oath given by a respondent is also considered a statement that is given under coercion, as it affects the accused’s freedom to choose between denying involvement with the matter at hand and confessing, forcing them to either perjure or confess to a crime that they may not have committed. This, in turn, invalidates the confession.

Moreover, a confession may still be regarded as invalid despite meeting all the conditions above, if it is not truthful and emanates from multiple motives; such as seeking sympathy or escaping from another crime that the accused wishes to conceal, saving the real perpetrator whom the accused has a connection with, or as a result of deception from a person, or fear of oppression from a person with authority.

Adhering to the invalidity of the confession before the court is an essential argument that the court must take into consideration. If the court does not consider such argument, and disregarding the causal link between the invalid procedure and the accused’s confession, on which the court relied on, the court’s judgment will be found null on the grounds of invalid reasoning and shortcomings.

Herein we refer to a case where the Public Prosecution brought the accused to trial and referred him to the Criminal Court on the grounds that the accused seized a sum of money, ergo, deliberately harming the funds of the entity he worked for.

The aforementioned court sentenced the accused with imprisonment in addition to community service, for a period of one year and demanded that he return the seized amount.

The verdict was challenged before the Court of Cassation on the grounds that charging the accused with the two crimes of appropriating public money and harming funds, was tarnished by deficiencies in reasoning, in addition to being a violation of the right of defense, as the appellant pled before the Criminal Court that his confession was given under the coercion of policemen. However, the court at the time accepted this confession, and relied upon it to convict the appellant without discussing this fundamental defense, or providing an adequate response to it.

The Court of Cassation accepted this appeal and overturned the contested ruling, on the ground that the plea for the invalidity of a confession issued under the influence of coercion is a fundamental plea that the court must consider, provided that the contested ruling relied on that confession to convict the appellant;

In addition to that, it is not sufficient for a conviction in criminal matters to cite other evidence, since evidence cannot be considered exclusively. This is, because, if one of the means of obtaining evidence is incorrect, it is impossible to quantify the impact of this false evidence, on the opinion rendered by the court in that case.

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Written By

Noor Mahdy - Attorney at Law

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