False confession and the way of dealing with them in different countries

This article is written by S.Karpagam.


Confession primarily refers to the acceptance of any truth by the offender in such the simplest way that the same can be applied to him or her in criminal cases against him or her. If the confession of any wrongdoing is performed by an innocent person, it’s called a Confession of Lies. To better perceive the topic, lets first understand the meaning of the word “confession”. In criminal law, the word Confession is outlined as an individual who confesses to a crime. There aren’t any debts that constitute confession. Judge Sir Leslie Stephen explained for the first time during an outline of the evidence Act, “pleading guilty means an individual who could be accused of a crime confesses or interferes with the crime he or she has committed.” Consent is taken into account as a part of acceptance as a result of it’s outlined within the commission section. Sections 24 to 30 of the Indian Testimony Act embody confession of sins. Confession is a confession; however, each word is terribly totally different from each other. There are often several reasons why a person will incorrectly admit guilt. Common reasons include intimidation by investigating officers, the utilization of inappropriate strategies by the police during the investigation and much more. Defendants’ confession is often considered one of the foremost necessary pieces of evidence in relation to a criminal case and therefore, it’s necessary to make sure that such evidence remains free from all offenses.

False confession:

False confession occurs when a person admits guilt when he is not the perpetrator. The use of intimidation or coercion to obtain a statement may result in a false confession. They can also be the product of a defendant’s mental disability. Acceptance of falsehood may sound impossible, but it does happen all the time and can cause many problems during a criminal trial. False confession can occur when a person admits a crime in order to draw the attention of the court to the person who actually committed the crime. For example, a person may confess to a crime to save a friend, family member, or relative under investigation. False admission can be used to evade severe punishment, such as when a person admits a minor offense he did not commit. If the confession is found to be false, the judge will no doubt remove the same assertion from the record, and it will no longer be accepted in court. In addition, a person who makes a false confession may face additional fines for lying in court. This is known as lying.

Types of false confession:

There are many kinds of false confession. Here are the few of them:

  • Voluntary false confession
  • Persuaded false confession
  • Complaint false confession

Voluntary confession:

This confession is made on the basis of the confession of the confessor’s mind and conscience, or on the basis of some external pressure or coercion brought on the confessor, but not on any official / investigator in authority. Sometimes voluntary false confession is motivated by psychological problems, for example, a person may make a statement because of the great need for punishment or is unable to distinguish between reality and fantasy. A person may make a voluntary false confession to protect and defend the real suspect, to provide for the participation in a different crime or, to commit an act of retaliation against another person. Judges and lawyers often have little faith in these types of confessions.

In one case in the United States, “John Mark Karr pleaded guilty to the murder of six-year-old JonBenét Ramsey. Karr was deeply concerned about every aspect of his murder, and was deported to Thailand on the basis of his confession of sins ten years after his death. However, his account contradicts the specification of the case, and his DNA was not the same as that found on the scene. His wife and brother said he was at home in another state at the time of the murder and had never visited Colorado. Prosecutors have never charged him with this crime because his confession was false. ”

Persuaded false Confession:

Investigating techniques can cause a person to question his or her memory, leading him or her to believe that he or she has committed a crime that he or she did not commit. This is usually achieved in three stages:

  • The investigator uses lengthy, tense, and punitive questions to make the defendant doubt his or her innocence.
  • Investigators give the defendant reasons for the case and how it may have been committed without his or her recollection. Excessive personality, blackout, post-traumatic stress disorder, or compressed memory can all be suggested as reasons for human behaviour.
  • After pleading guilty to any wrongdoing, the perpetrator may give false evidence to support the crime because he or she sincerely believes that he or she did it.

Complaint Confession:

If officials use coercion, intimidation, or coercion, and the suspects strive to escape a harsh investigation, they may admit their guilt or not. Students can imagine that if they plead guilty, they will be released or run away from a harsh sentence. This is related to the enforcement error mentioned above. Confession is often easily postponed by confessors after the end of questioning. The interrogation in the prison area is excessive, disturbing, unpleasant and disturbing. The questioner’s conduct can be a source of frustration. His suspicious tactics are usually intended to create anxiety by undermining the suspect’s self-esteem, preventing him from seeking his innocence, and making him feel useless and trapped. Inquiries can last several hours, such as a false  confession, weakening the suspect’s resistance, causing fatigue, and increasing aggression.

Dealing of False confession in different countries:


Various types are used by the court to deal with obtaining false confessions. The set of laws commonly used for this purpose is known as the law of confession. If a person is found to be giving false confession the following actions may be taken against them-

Contempt of court :

If such an unreasonable confession made by the accused causes or often causes disruption in the proceedings of the courts and leads to non-cooperation with the opposition party. The judge has absolute power to hold confession of sins.

Criminal offenses can be suppressed:

Any person who makes a false confession can be found guilty of additional crime depending on when and where the statement was made and to whom. A person who is guilty of a sin is liable to


“Lying is defined as the act of lying under oath. To lie means to lie in a court of law. The Indian Penal Code, 1860 defines the ‘fraud’ in Chapter IX of “false evidence and civil rights offenses” under Section 191. The penalty for perjury is defined under Section 193 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 as seven years’ imprisonment. ”

Lying to the police:

“Section 182 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860” – “False information, for the purpose of making a public servant use his or her legal powers to harm another person. Any person who provides any public service with any information that he or she knows or believes to be untrue, intends to create, or is likely to cause, is a public servant—

To act or omit anything that such public servant should not do or leave if the actual facts about the information provided are known to him or her, or

To use the official power of a public servant to injure or offend any person shall be liable to imprisonment for any term of up to six months, or to a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars, or to both. ”

It could even lead to a hefty fine or even a prison sentence for obstruction of justice.


In Canada the type of interrogation technique is known as the ‘Reid Technique’ named after John Reid, a former Chicago police officer. This approach involves three stages – factual analysis, discussion and interrogation. At first the suspects were simply seen knowing the signs of lying or telling the truth. In the event that the interviewee at any time discovers that the suspect is lying, the interrogation is conducted in the manner in which they think he or she is guilty, this may include the disruption of any denial made by the suspect and refusal to believe his or her account. The interrogator may use false statements or make false statements, may falsely claim that the suspect failed to check the fake detector or that his DNA was found at the scene, for example. For fear of being caught, the judge may consider consent as the best option. The investigative standards for the interviews of suspects and witnesses were revised in the 2011 Report’s Recommendations. This report focuses on following three points-

  • Conversations conducted under police control should be videotaped especially if the suspects are involved in serious cases of violence and not only the final statement should be in writing but the whole conversation.
  • The criteria for investigation should also be that they increase the credibility of the outcome of the investigation process.
  • Appropriate strategies should be used in the negotiation process and should also be investigated as to why some people admit to crimes they did not commit.

In addition to the above recommendations various Canadian cities have their own ideas regarding video recording of conversations. As there is no law in Canada that requires recording a video during an interview of the suspects. One of the leading cases in this regard was R v Sinclair.

United States of America:

False confession is no longer the same as in any other country. Their business covers the whole world, including the United States. In countries like the United States, leadership technology is used to interview suspects. Saul Kassin, a psychologist at the John Jay Criminal Justice School in New York, is one of the world’s foremost experts in questioning and has played a key role in defining the concept of false confession and brought in a number of prosecutors. Police opened their eyes and asked new questions and signs of investigation. This was first found in the case of Huwe Burton, who spent 20 years on parole after a thorough police investigation. The lawyer made every effort to prove his innocence after his transfer to prison, but attorney Burton asked Dr. Carson to explain the meaning of this false confession without the need for support. Burton’s 30-year sentence. This mistaken notion of confession was considered in the United States.


One of the most widely accepted practices in Brazil is police brutality against suspects who may be poor or criminal suspects. Police brutality can be seen in that. The suspects turned to so much mistreatment and insanity that false confession was their way out of self-defence.


In countries like China, the chances of false confessions are increasing due to the prolonged detention of suspects and the use of highly mandatory investigative techniques. However, the best step the world has taken is video chat.

Australia, Denmark, New Zealand, Sweden, Norway:

One common denominator among all these countries is that in order to avoid false confessions they have resorted to ‘interview with investigators’ which aims to gather more information from the accused instead of confessing sins without resorting to counterfeit and coercive methods.


Punishment should not be for retaliation, but for reducing crime and converting criminals. The worst crime a person can commit is to impose on an innocent person something that will cause him or her to pay damages. Investigators, officers, detectives while identifying and arranging innocent people themselves also fell into the abyss of filth and negligence. The real criminal still lies in the open, committing his crimes, while the weak, morally upright person and the righteous one die in prison, both literally and figuratively. In the global context, it seems that developed countries have well-established legal frameworks and guidelines for preventing false positives, but much remains to be done in the case of developing or developed countries.


  1. [Aniket Vashisth], [False confessions and the way of dealing with them in different countries], [lawtimesjournal], [2020]
  2. [Wikipedia], [False confession], [Wikipedia], [2021]
  3. [Amelia Hritz, Michal Blau, and Sara Tomezsko], [False confession], [cornel.edu]

This article has been edited by Anamika Singh.