Deceit in the Context of Private Evidence – de lege ferenda Remarks on an Amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure

In this paper presented is the question of deceit in the context of private evidence in the light of an amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure. Firstly, the essence of the term ‘deceit’, focusing on its lexical meaning, is discussed, as well as its existence in other areas of law, including civil and criminal law or previous Codes of Criminal Procedure. An attempt to propose an authorial definition of the term is also made. Furthermore, the author considers the motives for introducing the said amendment to the Code, with the deliberations centered around article 393 par. 3 of the Code, which – de lege ferenda – would enable the parties to make use of their private evidence in the course of procedure. The article discusses that change proposed, which permits the counsel for the defendant to employ private evidence may potentially cause difficulties in the interpretation of the Act as a whole, something which was not foreseen by the legislator. One of such difficulties is the problem of deceitful obtainment of private evidence. Furthermore, it is not yet known how the gathering of the private evidence will look like. Potentially, there is a sizable number of persons who may avail of deceit with a view to obtaining evidence, as well as persons against whom deceit may be employed. Having this in mind, the author tries to delineate the general rules pertaining to the use of deceit when obtaining the private evidence. He points out that the rule „nemo se ipsum accusare tenetur” could be easily broken and also juxtaposes the deceit with the „fair trial rule”. The discussion contained herein also touches upon the proposed addition of article 168a to the Code. It is the author’s conclusion that the fact that the burden of proof is plaed on the parties may threat the trial’s comprehensiveness. The problem of deceit, despite the demands voiced by the doctrine, has not been settled hitherto, and it remains unresolved even under the new amendment.

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