The International Journal of Evidence & Proof Pub Date : 2021-04-04 , DOI: 10.1177/13657127211002287 Jennifer Porter
The common law test of voluntariness has come to be associated with important policy rationales including the privilege against self-incrimination. However, when the test originated more than a century ago, it was a test concerned specifically with the truthfulness of confession evidence; which evidence was at that time adduced in the form of indirect oral testimony, that is, as hearsay. Given that, a century later, confession evidence is now mostly adduced in the form of an audiovisual recording that can be observed directly by the trial judge, rather than as indirect oral testimony, there may be capacity for a different emphasis regarding the question of admissibility. This article considers the law currently operating in Western Australia, Queensland and South Australia to see whether or not, in the form of an audiovisual recording, the exercise of judicial discretion as to the question of the admissibility of confession evidence might be supported if the common law test of voluntariness was not a strict test of exclusion.