Regina v William Baldry: 1852

A police constable, who apprehended a man on a charge of murder, having told him the nature of the charge aganist him, said ‘he need not say any thing to criminate himself – what he did say would he taken down, and used as evidence against him.’ The prisoner, thereupon, made a confession. Held, that the confession was rightly admitted in evidence. It is not that the law presumes a confession obtained by duress or by promise to be untrue, but from the danger of receiving such evidence judges have thought it better to reject it for the due administration of justice.
Parke B said: ‘by the law of England, in order to render a confession admissible in evidence, it must be perfectly voluntary and there is no doubt that any inducement in the nature of a promise or of a threat held out by a person in authority vitiates a confession. The decisions to that effect have gone a long way: whether it would not have been better to have allowed the whole to go to the jury it is now too late to inquire, but I think there has been too much tenderness towards prisoners in this matter. I confess that I cannot look at the decisions without some shame, when I consider what objections have prevailed to prevent the reception of confessions in evidence . . justice and commonsense have too frequently been sacrificed at the shrine of mercy’

Parke B and Lord Campbell CJ
(1852) 2 Den CC Res 430, (1852) 2 Den CC 430, [1852] EngR 63, (1852) 2 Den 430, (1852) 169 ER 568
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedIbrahim v The King PC 6-Mar-1914
(Hong Kong) The defendant was an Afghan subject with the British Army in Hong Kong. He was accused of murder. Having accepted the protection of the British Armed forces, he became subject to their laws. In custody, he was asked about the offence by . .
CitedA and others v Secretary of State for the Home Department (No 2) HL 8-Dec-2005
The applicants had been detained following the issue of certificates issued by the respondent that they posed a terrorist threat. They challenged the decisions of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission saying that evidence underlying the . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Evidence, Police

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.295186