Article title Interrogation as a Means of Establishing Truth in the Criminal Proceedings
Authors
Name of magazine Legal journal «Law of Ukraine» (Ukrainian version)
Issue 4/2018
Сторінки [223-232]
DOI https://doi.org/10.33498/louu-2018-04-223
Annotation

Interrogation is a consolidated communicational investigative action aimed at obtaining and verifying evidence in particular criminal proceedings by means of communication. The result of an interrogation depends on the skill with which it is held. The efficiency of an interrogation is directly related to the interrogated person’s intention to speak in general and to tell the truth in particular. Therefore, his or her position during the interrogation has a decisive impact on the interrogation efficiency and on the chosen method. The purpose of this article is to make a legal and psychological analysis of interrogation in the context of its assessment by persons held in captivity, in particular, by the accused and suspects kept in pretrial detention in Chernivtsi penitentiary facility No. 33 (hereinafter CPF No. 33) and the convicts serving their sentences in Sokyrianska correction colony No. 67 (further – SCC No. 67). Based on a different procedural status of the respondents which ensues directly from the term of their stay in captivity, and the appropriateness of the chosen interrogation method problematic issues of interrogation may be identified and their causes understood. The science of law and psychology, both national and international, focuses much effort on the study of psychological characteristics of interrogation – a special interaction of the representative of an investigative body and the interrogated person which determines the quality and promptness of the investigation, and also whether the truth of evidence is established and judicial errors are avoided. However, the scientific debates on this issue are still underway, and findings of recent research question the reliability of prior generally recognized scientific opinions and recommendations on interrogation methods and their specific features. Therefore, this issue of concern may not be solved without studying and considering the opinions of interrogated persons - suspects and the accused. We have also chosen the convicts – as the persons staying in captivity for a longer period, having a more tranquil psychological state because investigative and judicial procedures against them have been completed, and having a direct interest in the results thereof – for the purpose of making a comparison by procedural status and psychological state. It has been found that 32 % of convicts and 57 % of inmates indicated that there was a situation during investigative actions when they changed their mind and decided not cooperate with the investigator and the prosecutor, with 44 % of them doing so during an interrogation. The willingness to plead guilty to crimes and cooperate with the investigation decreases by an average of 20 % for persons kept in a correction colony as compared to those kept in penitentiary facilities. The reason for this is their prior experience with pretrial investigation bodies, since the vast majority of actual imprisonments are preceded by 1–2 convictions with milder punishments not involving actual deprivation of liberty. And such “experience” for some reason decreases the enthusiasm of respondents to cooperate with pre-trial investigation bodies. The time during which a person is kept in captivity also has a negative impact on his/her readiness to cooperate with the investigation, to testify against him-/herself and plead guilty to committed offences. We mark out the following reasons discouraging the persons kept in captivity to confess to their crimes: severity of subsequent punishment; principled position; opinion that the investigator and the prosecutor do not deserve it. The chosen interrogation method has a significant impact on the efficiency of interrogation. At the current stage of development of legal psychology, two main interrogation methods are recognized: information search and accusation. At the same time, 15 % of convicts categorically refused to plead guilty to the crimes committed, although they were already serving their sentences in a correction colony and thus had nothing to lose, and notwithstanding that their position could be taken into account with a view to possible release from further punishment, for which purpose confession of guilt and sincere repentance is a prerequisite. However, despite this, those persons refused to confess to crimes. This circumstance may indicate that they were wrongfully convicted. The author arrives at the conclusion that if an investigator or a prosecutor makes a mistake when choosing an interrogation method and does not take into account the psychological features of an interrogated person, this may delay further pre-trial and judicial investigation.

 

Keywords interrogation; efficiency; mistake; pre-trial investigation; interrogation method; readiness to plead guilty; procedural status; psychological state of an interrogated person
References

List of legal documents 
 

Legislation 
1. Kryminalnyi protsesualnyi kodeks Ukrainy [Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine]: Zakon Ukrainy [the Law of Ukraine]vid 13 kvitnia 2012 r. № 4651-VI. URL: http:// zakon5.rada.gov.ua/laws/show/4651-17 (accessed: 15.03.2018) (in Ukraine). 

 

Bibliography

 

Authored books

2. Stolyarenko A, Prikladnaya yuridicheskaya psikhologiya [Applied Legal Psychology] (Yuniti-Dana 2001) 381 (in Russian).

 

 Edited books

3. Bull Ray and Valentine Tim and Williamson Tom (eds), Handbook of Psychology of Investigative Interviewing. Current Developments and Future Directions (WileyBlackwell 2009) 3 (in English).

 

Journal articles

4. Turman N, ‘Naukovo-pravove obgruntuvannia vydiv vidmovy prokurora vid obvynuvachennia ta problemy zastosuvannia’ [‘Scientific and Legal Justification of the Types of Prosecutor’s Waiver of Prosecution and Issues of Application’] (2012) 4 Forum prava 919 (in Ukraine).

 

Websites

5. ‘Psychological reactance theory’ (Physical & Mental Health Resource, November 8, 2017) <http://www.psych-it.com.au/Psychlopedia/article.asp?id=65> accessed 15 March 2018.