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EXAMINATION OF THE JUDGES' RULES IN AUSTRALIA (FROM POLICE IN AUSTRALIA - DEVELOPMENT, FUNCTIONS AND PROCEDURES, 1977, BY KERRY L MILTE AND THOMAS A WEBER SEE NCJ-50485)

NCJ Number
50489
Author(s)
G L TEH
Date Published
1977
Length
18 pages
Annotation
RULES OF CONDUCT GOVERNING AUSTRALIAN POLICE INTERROGATIONS OF SUSPECTS ARE ANALYZED.
Abstract
POLICE ARE OBLIGED TO FOLLOW THE JUDGES' RULES TO AVOID BOTH THE COURT'S REJECTION OF EVIDENCE OBTAINED DURING INTERROGATIONS AND, WHERE THE RULES ARE EMBODIED IN POLICE REGULATIONS, DISCIPLINARY ACTION THAT MAY RESULT FROM INFRINGEMENT. A REVIEW OF THE STATUS AND SCORES OF THE RULES IN THE VARIOUS AUSTRALIAN STATES AND OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH THE RULES RESTRICT INTERROGATION DURING THE ACCUSATORY STAGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE (WHEN A DECISION TO CHARGE HAS BEEN MADE, WHILE A SUSPECT IS IN POLICE CUSTODY, AND AFTER FORMAL CHARGES HAVE BEEN BROUGHT) SHOWS THAT, ALTHOUGH THE RULES APPEAR TO BE HIGHLY RESTRICTIVE OF POLICE INTERROGATION, THE FACT THAT THE RULES ARE CONCERNED ONLY WITH CERTAIN TYPES OF POLICE CONDUCT THAT MAY RENDER CONFESSIONS INADMISSIBLE AS EVIDENCE LEAVES THE PRACTICE OF POLICE INTERROGATION LARGELY UNREGULATED. FOR EXAMPLE, THE RULES DO NOT CONDEMN THE USE OF VIOLENCE, THREATS OR PROMISES OF MATERIAL REWARD TO INDUCE CONFESSIONS. NOR DO THE RULES DIRECTLY PROHIBIT THE ILLEGAL PRACTICE OF DETAINING SUSPECTS FOR QUESTIONING. THESE TYPES OF POLICE CONDUCT ARE IMPERMISSIBLE, EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE NOT PROHIBITED BY THE RULES. THE JUDGES' RULES EVOLVED AS RESTRICTIONS ON SPECIFIC ACTIONS AND NOT AS A GENERAL CODE OF CONDUCT. AS A RESULT, MANY SITUATIONS OF INTERROGATION, INCLUDING DETENTION FOR QUESTIONING AND THE OFFER OF INDUCEMENTS TO CONFESS, ARE NOT COVERED. CITED CASES AND REFERENCES ARE FOOTNOTED. (LKM)