Confessions in criminal cases in Zambia

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Silungwe, Annel Musenga
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In this dissertation, an attempt is made to examine the subject of confessions with regard to criminal cases. In Anandagoda v R (1962) 1 W.L.R. 817 at page 823, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council said that a confession is the species of which an admission is the genus. However, the term "admission" is usually relevant in civil proceedings; when the term is used in relation to a crime, it denotes an admission of some fact relevant to the crime and the admission need not be voluntary. On the other hand, the term "confession" is used to denote the admission or acknowledgement of guilt and invariably applies to criminal cases. There are special rules governing the admissibility of a confession; these are discussed in the body of the work. Chapter I looks at the meaning, nature and effect of a confession. It then concludes with historical observations. Chapter II discusses the manner in which a confession may be conveyed. Chapter III deals with persons to wham a confession may be made; such persons may, or may not, be persons in authority. Chapter IV relates to what constitutes free and voluntary confessions, the significance of the Judges' Rules, the effect of any breach thereof and, finally, the question whether or not a free and voluntary confession requires to be corroborated. Chapter V deals with the admissibility of confessions.It discusses whether or not the whole, or part only, of a confession is admissible. It also discusses upon whom lies the burden of proving the voluntariness of a confession, the circumstances under which the procedure of a trial within a trial is introduced as well as the exercise of a judge's discretion. Chapter UI concerns the inadmissibility of confessions on the ground of involuntariness or ambiguity. It also deals with the questions arising from subsequent confessions, facts discovered in consequence of inadmissible confessions and evidence procured as a result of an illegal or improper search and seizure. Chapter VII looks at the use and abuse of confessions, the effect of confessions upon police investigations and the probative value of confessions. The final Chapter - Chapter VIII - is an appraisal of what safeguards there are, or should be, for the protection of suspects or accused persons in relation to police interrogations and the taking down of statements from such persons. The writer concludes the chapter by expressing certain views on the subject.