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Illegally obtained evidence defined

By ZHANG YI | China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-28 05:58

The Supreme People's Court has announced a new regulation taking effect on the exclusion of illegally obtained evidence in criminal cases, banning confessions made under torture or duress.

The regulation, which took effect on Tuesday, specifies the conditions under which evidence must be excluded in court trials to prevent wrongful convictions and safeguard human rights.

Under the regulation, it is illegal for police or prosecutors to extort confessions through torture, threat or subterfuge. Forced self-incrimination is also prohibited.

Confessions, witness testimonies and victim depositions obtained by force may no longer be accepted as evidence.

Jointly issued by the Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate, the Ministry of Public Security and other departments, the regulation is regarded as major progress in the criminal procedure system in China.

Dai Changlin, a member of the adjudication committee of the Supreme People's Court, said evidence is crucially important to the administration of justice.

"In recent years, mistakes were made in adopting evidence in court trials that led to wrongful conviction and execution of defendants. The mistakes were the result of accepting self-incrimination under torture or duress," he added.

Compared with previous versions issued in 2010 and 2012, the new regulation specifies the standards of illegally obtained evidence and makes clear the procedures for excluding such evidence, and this is expected to ensure that the evidence is collected, examined and employed in accordance with laws, Dai said.

In addition, criminal suspects and their lawyers are allowed to apply for illegal evidence to be ruled out during the investigation, the regulation said.

Prosecutors are required to ask suspects in major cases and examine whether they have been forced to confessor confronted illegal evidence collection before the conclusion of investigation, the document said.

Chen Ruihua, a law professor at Peking University, said, compared with previous versions, the regulation grants the prosecutors more power to exclude illegally obtained evidence.

The regulation requires prosecuting departments to accept the application from defendants and their lawyers to exclude illegally obtained evidence and requires that prosecutors not use the evidence when they issue arrest warrants, Chen said.

Xinhua contributed to this story.

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