Accusations of police pressure and “coercive” means of getting a confession from a suspect is something you typically see on television shows. However, as life inspires art, there are very real cases of this type of behaviour in the Canadian criminal justice system.
According to an article posted earlier this year by the CBC, there have been numerous cases throughout Canadian history where a suspect has made an involuntary confession to a crime due to pressure from police.
According to the article, Canadian laws allow police officers sometimes to use different techniques during interrogations to uncover the truth during an investigation. The article calls this “allowing police to lie”, but however you want to describe it, these different techniques can be both a benefit and a liability. The liability is that sometimes, mounting pressure can produce an involuntary confession, and therefore be thrown out later. You can read more about the different interrogation techniques in the article.
The article cites three different examples of false confessions in criminal cases. The purposes of the false confessions varied – some by police pressure, others by mental illness. In many cases, the advancement of DNA in criminal cases has helped exonerate many falsely accused suspects in serious high-profile cases.
If you feel you were coerced into providing a false confession, it’s crucial that you speak to an experienced criminal defence lawyer. If a confession has been taken into evidence, a criminal defence lawyer will be able to explain what your options are going forward, and what outcomes you can pursue.