The Safety-Valve: discretion to admit hearsay evidence in criminal proceedings

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Abstract

Section 114(1)(d) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 gave the criminal courts discretion to admit hearsay evidence in the interests of justice. The Law Commission envisaged that the courts would only exercise this inclusionary discretion in exceptional circumstances. Whilst the admissibility threshold created by s. 114(1)(d) is not as high as the Law Commission had intended, the recent jurisprudence suggests that the courts will exercise the s. 114(1)(d) discretion much as the Law Commission had anticipated except that, contrary to the Law Commission’s intentions, there is authority for the proposition that where a confession is admitted under s. 114(1)(d) it may be admissible against persons other than its maker and there is also authority for the proposition that the hearsay evidence of a witness who cannot be identified is not admissible under s. 114(1)(d).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314-332
JournalThe Journal of Criminal Law
Volume76
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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