Confessional Statement and Trial Within Trial:
In Criminal Matters, the suspect after arrest will be required to make a statement before the law enforcement agency that is investigating the matter. This statement is meant to be voluntarily and without iota of torture. This statement builds up to what is called confessional statement. Confessional statement is the statement of admission made by the Defendant admitting that he committed the crime of which he is charged.
The confessional statement can be admitted as an evidence in the court against the Defendant that made it. The defendant is meant to provide the statement voluntarily without any force or torture from the party eliciting such statement. It is part of the law that once there is any claim by the defendant that he was forced into making the confessional statement, the court shall be mandated to conduct trial within trial.
Do note that confessional statement must be positive. The Defendant must have admitted in the confessional statement that he committed the crime. Ordinarily the law enforcement agencies investigating and handling the case will not be expected to tender before the court, statements that are made by the Defendant wherein the defendant denies committing the crime. It’s important to state that for it to be confessional statement, it must be in the positive and conclusive and the Defendant must have admitted committing the crime that he was alleged to have committed.
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It would be stated without the fear of contradiction that a defendant can be convicted in the court based on a confessional statement which was tendered in the court and which was neither denied nor controverted by the Defendant in the court.
The Law is settled that when the Defendant merely denies the authorship of the Confessional Statement, that the court shall most definitely forge ahead with the trial but the reliance that shall be laid on it will be based on other external factors. This entails that once the Defendant denies being the maker of the confessional statement, the court may continue with the trial but will consider other evidence or testimonies to determine the probative value to place on the confessional statement.
What is Trial within Trial
Trial within Trial is a miniature trial conducted by the court to test the voluntariness of a confessional statement. The law speaks against obtaining confessional statement with force or under duress and once the Defendant claims that his statement was obtained by force, then the court shall be ready to conduct trial within trial.
Do remember that trial within trial is not conducted to test the truthfulness of the statement, instead it’s meant to test if the statement was obtained voluntarily. in this scene, the defendant is not denying being the maker of the statement, instead he is adding that the statement was obtained with force or under duress.
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Trial within trial usually takes the format of a criminal trial. In course of the miniature trial, the prosecution shall be expected to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the statement was obtained voluntarily. while the main trial shall be suspended for the voluntariness of the confessional statement to be determined by the court.
It’s after the miniature trial, that if the court finds for the Defendant that the statement was obtained with force, then they will strike out the confessional statement but if they finds out otherwise, it shall be admitted as evidence.