False confessions - appeals solicitors

False confessions ruin lives, destroy cases and keep the true perpetrators of terrible crimes from being brought to justice. If you would like to speak to our leading team of solicitors in relation to a false confession call us on 0203 816 1098.

In a substantial number of cases involving wrongful criminal convictions, innocent defendants voluntarily plead guilty, or otherwise confess to the crime with which they are charged. While it seems counterintuitive to the normal person to admit guilt to crime that they didn’t commit, innocent defendants sometimes erroneously admit guilt for a number of reasons, including fear or intimidation, impairment, or simple ignorance.

Fear or intimidation leading to a false confession

When a person is accused of committing a crime, and, particularly, a violent or serious crime, one can not underestimate the normal human reaction to such an accusation. For instance, a person who has not had much interaction with the law may be scared or intimidated by the questions and behaviour. Similarly, a person who has had multiple run-ins and other negative experiences with the police may react in a distrustful and even fearful manner. At other times, a person accused of such a crime may have been threatened by the actual perpetrator(s) of the crime, and therefore believes that telling the truth will only result in harm or violence to him and/or his family. As a result of these quite normal human emotions, people sometimes confess, and thus are convicted of, crimes that they simply did not commit.

Impairments resulting in false confessions

Another class of people who are particularly prone to making false confessions includes juveniles, mentally impaired people, and people who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. All of these types of people are more vulnerable to suggestions by in terms of confessing to crimes that they did not commit. For instance, children and people with mental impairments tend to regard police officers as people with authority, and therefore may give answers that they think will please or agree with their interrogators, even if they are not truthful. Likewise, confessions from these types of people tend to be unreliable due to the inherent risk of manipulation by police and even other adults in general. For instance, children may believe that they can see their parents or go home, if only they tell the police what they want to hear.

Ignorance and false confessions

Some people who are wrongfully accused of crimes are simply ignorant of the law and their rights.  A person may think that if they confess to the crime, then he will receive a lighter sentence. A person may believe that he will be allowed to leave if he just admits to some involvement in the crime. Although police are required to advise suspects of their rights at certain points, this doesn’t always happen as it should, nor do suspects always understand their legal rights, even if they receive them. As a result, some people falsely confess to crimes out of sheer ignorance.

At Stephensons we have successfully appealed a number of convictions of false confessions, including:

  • R v Steele – Murder conviction based on confession quashed on appeal following referral by the CCRC.
  • R v Kiszco – Convicted after falsely admitting to a crime that he did not commit, the false confession was made under duress.
  • R v Flanagan (2005) EWCA Crim 2286 - murder false confessions – psychological issues.
9.3out of 10
5-stars on Trustpilot Based on count 551

We're Great

It is our business to deliver legal services that work for our clients, and you can trust our specialists to take care of things on your behalf.

Our Trustpilot reviews

Do I need a solicitor when being questioned by the police?

When the police investigate the complaint of a crime they will usually want to interview their suspect. This can be when that person has been placed under arrest or can be a more informal arrangement made by the police, referred to as a voluntary...

Read more

Twitter block 1 tweet

SolicitorsLLP

A brace of wins for Stephensons at the Modern Law Conveyancing Awards

The national law firm, Stephensons, has won a brace of awards at this year’s Modern Law Conveyancing Awards . Stephensons collected awards for Property Team of the Year and Best Use of Technology and was Highly Commended in the Conveyancing...

Read more