The Reid Technique of Interrogation

Brian C. Jayne

Joseph P. Buckley


 In April 2000, a Provincial Court of Alberta ruled in R. v. M.J.S. that a child abuse confession should be suppressed and cited the use of improper interrogation techniques, specifically The Reid Technique.[1]  Seven months later in R. v. Oickle, a Canadian Supreme Court Decision overturned a lower court's suppression of an arson confession and expressed implicit approval of many of the interrogation techniques utilized in The Reid Technique. [2]  After reviewing these two cases, the authors agree with both decisions.  In the first interrogation techniques were used that are not advocated by The Reid Technique and indeed, the "confession" ought to have been suppressed.  In the second, the interrogation was proper and the confession should have been admitted as evidence.


Formal instruction in The Reid Technique is fairly new to Canada.  Those trained in the technique report great success and its use will undoubtably escalate because it has proven to be a very effective approach to solve crimes.  Unfortunately, the Alberta decision erroneously attributes improper interrogation tactics to The Reid Technique which may result in negative repercussions for both future court decisions and criminal investigations.  Consequently, this article is intended to educate the legal community about our approach to interrogation to foster a better understanding of exactly what is The Reid Technique.


The Reid Technique was developed by John E. Reid who established a private polygraph firm in 1947 in Chicago, IL.  It represents the accumulative experiences of dozens of associates who successfully utilized the technique to solve literally hundreds of thousands of crimes over the past 54 years.  The training was first made available to the public in 1974 and more than 200,000 investigators in private industry, law enforcement and the Federal government have attended these seminars which range from three to five days.  The book Criminal Interrogation and Confessions, is considered by investigators and courts  to be the authoritative text describing The Reid Technique.[3]


The Reid Technique describes a three-part process for solving a crime.  The first step is referred to as factual analysis.  This represents the collection and analysis of information relative to a crime scene, the victim and possible subjects.  Factual analysis helps determine the direction an investigation should take and offers insight to the possible offender.  The second stage of the process is the interview of possible subjects.  This highly structured interview, referred to as a Behavior Analysis Interview, is a non-accusatory question and answer session intended to elicit information from the subject in a controlled environment.  The clinical nature of the interview, including the asking of specific behavior provoking questions, is designed to provide the investigator with verbal, paralinguistic and nonverbal behavior symptoms which either support probable truthfulness or deception.  A significant portion of training in The Reid Technique is devoted to the interpretation of a subject's behavioral responses during the structured interview.  If the investigator believes that the subject has not told the truth during the non-accusatory interview, the third part of the technique is employed, which is the accusatory interrogation.


The purpose for interrogation is to elicit the truth from someone whom the investigator believes has lied during an interview.  Television and movies often portray an interrogation as a session where the investigator presents his evidence and the suspect breaks down and confesses in a matter of minutes.  This is pure fiction.  First, it is rare for investigators to have compelling evidence of a suspect's guilt prior to conducting an interrogation. This is precisely why an interrogation is conducted; it is an effort to obtain such evidence.  Second, the consequences facing a criminal suspect are significant and often several hours of interrogation are required to persuade a guilty suspect to tell the truth.  The persuasive efforts used during an interrogation must be balanced against the possibility that the suspect is innocent of the offense.  On the one hand, the techniques must be effective enough to persuade a guilty suspect to tell the truth but not so powerful as to cause an innocent person to confess.  The authors' position is that if The Reid Technique is properly employed, both of these criteria are satisfied.


Underlying Principles


As a preface to the subsequent discussion, it will be beneficial to understand some fundamental concepts relating to deception and the criminal mind.  The first is that all deception is motivated to avoid the consequences of telling the truth.  These consequences may be real (going to prison, losing a job, paying a fine) or personal (feelings of embarrassment, shame or humiliation).  One goal of interrogation, therefore, is to reduce perceived consequences of telling the truth.  Legally, an investigator cannot reduce real consequences (offer a promise of leniency in exchange for a confession).  However, there are many legal and proper procedures an investigator can use that would not risk a false confession from an innocent suspect and yet may allow the deceptive suspect to perceive lesser consequences associated with his crime.  Consequently, one technique that should be avoided is to inform the suspect about the possible sentence facing him if he is convicted.  The investigator who tells a suspect, "You're in a lot of trouble and face the next 20 years behind bars," has made it psychologically very difficult for the suspect to tell the truth.  For a similar reason the investigator should refer to the crime with "soft" language such as taking money rather than stealing money.  It is psychologically much easier to admit causing a person's death than it is to admit murdering that person. In addition, the investigator should portray an understanding and compassionate demeanor toward the suspect which allows the suspect to feel better about himself and the crime he committed.




It is interesting that courts both in the U.S. and Canada have criticized the compassionate interrogator.  During a suppression hearing in a Michigan homicide case, the court found that, "The objective of the [interrogator] was to ingratiate himself with the defendant.  He used a monotone, non-accusational, almost hypnotic tone of voice.  The [interrogator] tried to equate things he had done in the past with  the actions of the defendant."[4]  In  Oickle, the Court of Appeals suggested that the interrogator's understanding demeanor improperly abused the suspect's trust.  The Canadian Supreme Court disagreed stating,  "In essence, the court [of appeals] criticizes the police for questioning the respondent in such a gentle, reassuring manner that they gained his trust.  This does not render a confession inadmissible.  To hold otherwise would send the perverse message to police that they should engage in adversarial, aggressive questioning to ensure they never gain the suspect's trust, lest an ensuing confession be excluded."[5]


Another technique to reduce perceived consequences of a crime involves more active persuasion.  In this instance, the suspect is told that his crime could have been much worse and that it is fortunate that the suspect did not engage in the more serious activity.  In Oickle, the Court of Appeals concluded that the police improperly offered leniency to the suspect by minimizing the seriousness of his offense.  The Supreme Court again disagreed stating, "Insofar as the police simply downplayed the moral culpability of the offence, their actions were not problematic."[6]


The second principle is that every person who has committed a crime will have justified the crime in some way.  A crime against a person is often justified by blaming the victim (the rape victim encouraged the sexual encounter; the robbery victim was showing off his wealth; or the murder victim got the suspect angry).  Crimes against property may be justified in a variety of ways.  The employee who steals may justify the theft because he is underpaid and overworked; the businessman who burns down his warehouse to collect the insurance money may justify his arson by blaming the insurance company for charging him high premiums over the past years.  This failure to accept personal accountability for a crime, and the concomitant attitudes displayed toward the crime are so pervasive within the guilty suspect that they form the basis for the previously mentioned Behavior Analysis Interview.    With a combined experience of over 45 years dealing with criminal suspects,  the authors have yet to meet a guilty suspect who exclaimed, "The reason I committed the crime is because I am a basically dishonest criminal and have no respect for another person's property or life."


Related to this principle is a concept termed forming a "victim mentality."  Criminals believe that they are the casualty of an unjust and unfair criminal justice system.  If a suspect incriminates himself as a result of a false statement made to him by the police he immediately cries foul.  While he may accept that what he did was wrong, the criminal believes that he deserves special consideration because of his unique situation.  A most interesting part of the victim mentality is the urge to protect this victim image, even at the cost of making an incriminating statement.


These insights to the criminal mind play an important role in understanding interrogation utilizing The Reid Technique.  The procedures advocated in the technique reinforce the guilty suspect's own justification for his crime and culminate by taking advantage of the suspect's victim mentality where the first admission is obtained when the suspect rejects a false assumption about the crime he committed.


The Reid Nine Steps of Interrogation


John Reid divided interrogation into different steps not only to help learn the process, but because he observed that suspects often go through identifiable stages during a successful interrogation.  All suspects start off denying involvement in the offense.  The guilty suspect eventually  becomes quiet and withdrawn.  At some point the guilty suspect starts to mentally debate whether or not to confess.  It is at this stage that the investigator seeks the first admission of guilt.  Once this admission is offered, the suspect is generally willing to disclose the details of his crime through standard questioning procedures.


Step One of the interrogation is called the direct positive confrontation.  This is a procedure to advise the suspect that the investigation clearly indicates that he is responsible for the commission of a crime.  This, of course, may not be a true statement.  However, to persuade a guilty suspect to tell the truth the investigator must often exaggerate his confidence in the suspect's guilt.  In the previously mentioned Oickle case the Court of Appeals found fault in that the police failed to inform the suspect that polygraph test results are not admissible as evidence.  Indeed, the investigator falsely exaggerated the accuracy of polygraph results.  The Supreme Court rejected this argument citing, in part, the following logic: "confrontation of a suspect with polygraph test results, in such circumstances, is not qualitatively dissimilar from such permissible techniques of persuasion as the police showing a detained suspect a co-accused's confession inadmissible in evidence against the suspect, or police trickery, for example, the ruse of relating to the suspect that his or her fingerprint has been discovered at the scene of the crime."[7]


Conversely, if the investigator initiates an interrogation with a weak confrontation such as, "Joe, in my opinion I think there is a good chance that you might have started some of these fires," the suspect immediately recognizes that the police do not have a strong case against him and this will greatly fortify his confidence in maintaining a position of innocence.  An additional benefit of using an unequivocal positive confrontation statement is that the innocent suspect instantly realizes that the investigator's accusation is false and will be strongly motivated to challenge the erroneous statement.  An innocent person who is told that the investigation clearly indicates that he is guilty of a crime he knows he did not commit (regardless of the alleged evidence presented) will certainly not place more weight in the investigator's demeanor or purported evidence than his own knowledge of his innocence.

All of this, of course, assumes that the suspect knows whether or not he is guilty of the crime.  With most crimes, the suspect definitely knows whether or not he committed the offense and the direct positive confrontation is straightforward.[8]  However, there are unusual circumstances where a person may not have definite knowledge if he is guilty of a crime.  Consider a forest fire where the fire was started by a cigarette being thrown from a window.  While a suspect would know if he threw a lit cigarette from his window he would not necessarily know if it was his cigarette that started the fire. An analogous situation may well have existed in the case of R. v. M.J.S.  The child's broken bones were subtle to the extent that they were originally not detected by a radiologist.  Despite this, it would appear that the suspect was told there was no doubt that he caused his son's injuries.  A confrontation statement should not be based on the premise of what a person must have done (even though he may not know for sure he is responsible for doing it) but rather on what a suspect knows he has done. In a care-givers mind where injuries were only evident weeks after apparent abuse, a suspect may, in fact, not know for certain that his actions resulted in the child's injuries.[9]  The confrontation in this interrogation should have been, "Our investigation indicates that you did shake the child."   Under this circumstance, the suspect would certainly know whether or not he engaged in this behavior.


 Following the direct positive confrontation, the investigator makes a transition statement.  An example of a transition statement is, "While there is no doubt that you did this, what I need to establish are the circumstances that led up to this happening."  The transition statement is psychologically important for several reasons. First, it offers a pretense for the interrogation other than to elicit a confession.  If a suspect senses that an investigator needs a confession to prove his case, he is certainly not likely to help the government convict him by providing further evidence of his guilt.  Second, the transition statement sidesteps the entire issue of the suspect's guilt. The goal of an interrogation is to elicit the truth, not to argue with the suspect whether or not the evidence against him is sufficient to obtain a conviction (an argument almost every guilty suspect would win).  Third, the concept of understanding why the crime was committed is attractive to the guilty suspect who believes that outside circumstances were responsible for his committing the crime.  On the other hand, the innocent suspect rejects such a premise and proclaims, "There were no circumstances that led up to this because I did not do it!".  Finally, the transition statement allows the investigator to move from an accusatory demeanor to one which is more understanding and compassionate.  It is much easier for a guilty suspect to tell the truth if the investigator appears to be sympathetic toward his situation.



Step Two of the interrogation process is theme development.  A theme is a monologue in which the investigator offers  moral or psychological excuses for the suspect's criminal behavior.  The theme is not designed to plant new ideas in the suspect's mind but merely to reinforce the justifications that already exist in the guilty suspect's mind.  The following is a theme that might be appropriate for a suspect being interrogated concerning a robbery:


"Jim, I think you acted out of desperation because of your financial situation.  I don't think you are a common criminal who enjoys doing things like this.  I think you tried hard to keep up with your utility bills, rent and car payments but kept falling further and further behind.   Because you are conscientious and want to pay your bills on time you saw this as your only chance to catch up financially.  In a moment of desperation you saw that man, who was obviously well dressed and who had plenty of money, and decided on the spur of the moment to do this."


An innocent suspect, who has not justified the robbery will reject this theme concept.  He is likely to state, "What difference does it make that I am behind on my bills!  I did not rob anyone!"  A guilty suspect will also reject the theme if it does not reflect his own justifications.  In the previous example, if the robbery was an initiation to join a gang and the money was spent to buy drugs, the guilty robber, like the innocent suspect, would continue to deny involvement in the offense.  Under this circumstance, the investigator would try a new theme, perhaps one centered around peer pressure causing the suspect to act out of character.  An important principle is that regardless of the theme presented, an innocent suspect will reject the theme concepts because he has not justified the crime.


The court in R. v. M.J.S. criticized the use of interrogation themes.  It wrote, "... all three interrogations had introduced themes which were knowingly false, for the purpose of having the accused agree with the false theme,"[10] and later, "The word themes is a polite way of describing outright falsehoods..."[11]   Courts must recognize that because criminals mentally distort the motives and circumstances surrounding their crime, they do not accept the true reasons behind their behavior.  Consider a rapist who is interrogated using a theme based on truthful statements:


"John, you're the lowest form of sexual deviant I have ever encountered.  When a man has to resort to forcing a woman to have sex with him it tells me that he's got serious psychological problems.  A person who would pick on a helpless woman has no conscience.  Even animals who live in the wild don't rape other animals to show their superiority.  You really are a disgusting example of the human race and I hope they put you away for a long time."



Clearly, this theme will have little positive impact in persuading the suspect to tell the truth about his rape.  Again in Oickle the Supreme Court offers support for the investigator's necessity to be less than truthful in persuasive efforts during an interrogation.  It referenced to the often cited decision of Justice Lamer who wrote, "The investigation of crime and the detection of criminals is not a game to be governed by the marquess of Queensbury rules.  The authorities, in dealing with shrewd and often sophisticated criminals, must sometimes of necessity resort to tricks or other forms of deceit and should not through the rule be hampered in their work.  What should be repressed vigorously is conduct on their part that shocks the community."[12]


During training in The Reid Technique it is emphasized that at no time should the investigator attempt to convince a suspect (through themes or presentation of evidence) that he must be guilty of a crime he has no recollection of committing.  This guideline may have been violated in R. v. M.J.S.  At some point it appears the investigator offered a theme centered around accidentally or inadvertently injuring the child.  This was obviously a poor selection in that an innocent suspect, who  had regular physical contact with the child, might come to believe that he somehow was responsible for the child's injuries.


Steps Three and Four both address statements the suspect makes during theme development.  Most guilty suspects and all innocent ones will offer denials during theme development. An important principle with respect to denials is that the more often a suspect denies involvement in an offense, the more difficult it is for that person to tell the truth.  If a suspect is permitted to voice too many denials he becomes committed to that position and no amount of persuasion will allow him to save enough face to tell the truth.  For this reason, the investigator will discourage the suspect from offering weak denials.


Part of this procedure is simply maintaining a flow of words during theme development and not asking the suspect questions.  If the suspect asks to speak, the investigator puts off the request and continues on with the theme.  If a denial is voiced, and the nature of the denial is deceptive, the investigator re-states his confidence in the suspect's guilt and continues on with the theme.  The court in R. v. M.J.S. described this portion of the interrogation in the following manner, "The Reid technique involves skillful development of themes and suggestions put to the suspect in a rapid fire and high intensity manner where the interrogator stays in complete control of the situation.  On the rare occasions when there is an opportunity for the accused to respond any disagreement is immediately ignored or overridden and, in particular, any denial is countered with a shift to another theme, or a cutoff remark such as "we are beyond that point , we know you did it."[13]



It is important to recognize that The Reid Technique does not utilize any procedures to prevent a suspect from offering a denial for to do so would clearly be illegal.  It does, however, make it socially uncomfortable for the suspect to offer denials.  Obviously, an innocent suspect will feel no social obligation to allow the investigator to continue to talk and will, without apology, interrupt the theme with a denial.[14]  If the investigator is convinced that the suspect's denials are truthful, a procedure is taught to "step-down" and eventually terminate the interrogation.  Even if the investigator fails to identify truthful denials and does not step down the interrogation, the innocent suspect will terminate it himself by leaving the room or invoking his charter rights.


Deceptive suspects will also voice denials, but the accompanying behaviors are distinctly different from the innocent suspect's denial. A guilty suspect's denials become weaker and less persistent as the investigator continues on with his theme.  Once the suspect recognizes that his denials are not dissuading the investigator's confidence in his guilt, he often psychologically withdraws.  His mind is focused on the consequences of his crime and he is content to allow the investigator to continue to talk and simply tunes him out.  Step Five of the process, therefore, is to procure the suspect's attention to the theme.  At this stage the investigator may move his chair in closer to the suspect's.  A person who is physically close to another individual  is also emotionally closer to that person.  The investigator may also ask hypothetical questions designed to stimulate internal thoughts from the suspect.


For the first time during the interrogation, the suspect may begin to think about telling the truth.  This is termed being in a "passive mood."  The behavioral signs at this stage of an interrogation include dropped barriers (uncrossing arms or legs), a less tense posture, eye contact focused to the floor and sometimes tears.  Responding to the suspect's passive mood is Step Six of the interrogation.  The investigator condenses theme concepts to one or two central elements and moves into the next step of the process designed to elicit the initial admission of guilt.


Step Seven is presenting an alternative question.  This is a question that presents two choices to the suspect concerning some aspect of his crime.  The choices generally contrast a positive and a negative choice.  Accepting either choice, of course, results in an admission of guilt.  It is important to remember that every suspect has a third option which is to reject both sides of the alternative question.  The psychology of the alternative question relies on the guilty suspect's victim mentality.  If an innocent suspect gets to this stage of an interrogation, he listens to both sides of the question and has no difficulty rejecting both of them.  The guilty suspect, on the other hand, not wanting to be perceived as a bad or hideous person may be persuaded to accept the positive choice.



Examples of an alternative question include, "Have you done this many times before or was this just the first time?"; "Did you blow that money on drugs and partying, or did you use it to pay bills?"; "Was this whole thing your idea or did you get talked into it?"  It is important to recognize that none of these alternative questions address real consequences the suspect may face.  This concept is emphasized repeatedly during training in The Reid Technique, including several examples of improper alternative questions.  An example of an improper alternative question is, "If you planned this out and it was premeditated then we're talking first degree murder.  That means spending the rest of your life behind bars.  On the other hand, if this happened on the spur of the moment then it's just manslaughter." Clearly this alternative question is telling the suspect that if he confesses to manslaughter he will be sentenced less harshly.  It is improper and could be used as grounds to suppress a confession.


The alternative question that apparently stimulated the first admission in R. v. M.J.S. contrasted a situation where if the suspect confessed he could continue to raise his family and keep his family together.  On the other hand, if he did not confess he would never see his kids again because they would be raised by foster parents.[15]  Similar to the previous example, this alternative question clearly addresses real consequences and, therefore, may cause a subsequent confession to be excluded as evidence.


In Oickle, the Court of Appeals expressed concern that the use of an alternative question implied a threat or promise of leniency.[16]  In refuting this argument, the Canadian Supreme Court offers a clear test of whether or not an implied threat or promise crosses the legal line to where an ambiguous statement may invalidate a confession.  It writes, "The most important consideration in all cases is to look for a quid pro quo offer by interrogators, regardless of whether it comes in the form of a threat or a promise."  A relevant passage from R. v. Rennie (1981) illustrates excellent insight into the criminal mind:


"Very few confessions are inspired solely by remorse.  Often the motives of an accused are mixed and include a hope that an early admission may lead to an earlier release or a lighter sentence.  If it were the law that the mere presence of such a motive, even if promoted by something said or done by a person in authority, led inexorably to the exclusion of a confession, nearly every confession would be rendered inadmissible.  This is not the law.  In some cases the hope may be self-generated.  If so, it is irrelevant, even if it provides the dominant motive for making the confession..  There can be few prisoners who are being firmly but fairly questioned in a police station to whom it does not occur that they might be able to bring both their interrogation and their detention to an earlier end by confession."[17]


When utilizing the procedures described in the first seven steps of interrogation, several hours may be required before a guilty suspect decides to tell the truth,  if at all.  A general guideline we teach is that if a suspect is still maintaining his innocence after four hours of interrogation the suspect may not confess using The Reid Technique.  Under this circumstance our recommendation is to terminate the interrogation and attempt to gather evidence, witnesses or an accomplice's statement to use during a second interrogation which is more factually oriented.


In those instances when a suspect does accept the positive side of the alternative question, it is important to recognize that this merely represents an admission, which holds little or no legal weight.  An admission is a statement or action that tends toward proving guilt as the following dialogue illustrates:


I: "Paul I don't think this is characteristic of you where you go out robbing people every weekend.  I think you acted out of desperation and did something totally out of character.  I may be wrong, but I'll bet this is just the first time you've done something like this.  Was this just the first time or have you robbed dozens of people before?  Paul, it was just the first time, wasn't it?"


S: "Yeah"


The suspect's agreement with the investigator's question represents nothing more than an admission and, therefore, the investigator would move to Step Eight, developing the oral confession and eventually Step Nine where the oral confession is converted to a court admissible document. A confession is a statement acknowledging personal responsibility for a crime including details only the guilty person would know.  At step eight active persuasion stops and the investigator returns to the question and answer format used during the interview.  Most suspects, of course, are reluctant to discuss their crime and the investigator must be patient in drawing out the information and details necessary to corroborate the confession.  Courts must recognize that even a totally voluntary and trustworthy confession may contain omissions or even small details that are erroneous.  To be considered as useful evidence, however, the confession must acknowledge personal responsibility for committing the crime.


In reviewing the "confession" reported in R. v. M.J.S. which is hand-written by the suspect in the form of a letter of apology to his son, there does not appear to be any definitive acknowledgment of accepting personal responsibility for the physical abuse.  The suspect writes, "I found out with the help of the police that I was the one [that] hurt you."[18]  There are no detailed descriptions with respect to dates, frequency, location or circumstances during which the suspect engaged in behaviors that would be consistent with the medical findings resulting in the son's injuries.  In short, the suspect's letter of apology is nothing more than an admission.




The case of  R. v. M.J.S. was a regrettable one to serve as a legal test of The Reid Technique in Canada.  The issue under investigation was a difficult one to resolve through interrogation and the interrogation itself did not offer a representative or accurate application of The Reid Technique.  The court clearly is in error when it states that, "I find that the accused wrote this confession in order to escape the oppressive atmosphere created by these interrogations all of which followed the Reid Technique almost to the letter. (Italics added)"[19]  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The  focus of the interrogation which centered around persuading the suspect that he must be guilty of physically abusing his child, not that he shook the child or twisted the child's leg, was misdirected. It was inappropriate to utilize a theme suggesting that the injuries were accidentally or inadvertently caused.  It was certainly improper to use an alternative question that offered a quid pro quo promise to the suspect that if he confessed he would be able to raise his family but that if he did not, his family would be raised by foster parents.  Despite each of these flaws, the case does demonstrate the resiliency of a suspect (guilty or innocent) to withstand the pressures of police interrogation for the suspect never offered a corroborated confession.


The timing of the Canadian Supreme Court Oickle decision was fortunate in that it reinforces many of the underlying principles utilized in the proper application of The Reid Nine Steps of Interrogation.  It upholds a sympathetic and understanding demeanor by the investigator.  It reaffirms earlier decisions permitting trickery or deceit during an interrogation such as those offered during theme development and provides a tangible test to differentiate implied promises of leniency, as may be perceived by the suspect through the use of an alternative question, to the impermissible tactic of offering a quid pro quo threat or promise.


It must be realized that the reason The Reid Technique has survived legal scrutiny for more than 50 years in the United States is that, while it does offer an effective tool for law enforcement, it also maintains strict adherence to judicial decisions.  Our approach to interrogation is designed to not only elicit confessions from the guilty suspect but also to protect the innocent suspect.  Similar to any sophisticated procedure related to criminal investigation, this statement only holds true if the technique is properly applied.



[1]  R. v. M.J.S. 2000 ABPC 44.

[2] R. v. Oickle, 2000 SCC 38.

[3] The text, written by Inbau, F., Reid, J., Buckley, J. & Jayne, B. is now in its fourth edition, and available through Aspen Publishers Baltimore, MD.

[4] People v. DeLisle, 183 Mich. App. 713, 455 N.W. 2d 401 (1990).

[5] Supra note 2, Para [85]

[6] Supra note 2,  Para [74].

[7] R. v. Alexis (1994), 35 C.R. (4th) 117 (Ont. Ct. (Gen. Div.)) para. 159.

[8] In Oickle, for example, the suspect was confronted with a direct accusation that he did start a particular fire which was clearly intentionally set.  The suspect would certainly know whether or not he was responsible for starting the fire.

[9] An interrogation based on the premise that the suspect must be guilty of an offense for which he has no memory committing may result in an allegation that the confession was coerced-internalized.  See Ofshe, R. "Coerced Confessions: The Logic of Seemingly Irrational Action,@ Cultic Studies Journal. 1989, Vol 6, No 1 pp. 1-15.

[10] Supra note 1, Para [16]

[11] Supra note 1, Para [40]

[12] Rothman v. The Queen, (1981) p. 697.  Rothman refers to the fabrication of evidence against a suspect which represents a significantly greater level of deception that the knowingly false suggestion by investigators of the circumstances surrounding a crime.

[13] Supra note 1, Para [19]

[14] The implication in para [19] of R. v. M.J.S. is that the suspect offered 40 denials during his interrogation.  If this is accurate, the interrogation technique used cannot be criticized because of its dominance over the suspect..  While the strength of these denials is not reported, certainly they were persistent which would be consistent with a suspect who, in this case, truly believed that he did not cause the injuries to his child.

[15] Supra note 1, Para [25]

[16]  This issue has been raised in the U.S. under the term "pragmatic implication." See Kasssin, S. & McNall, K., "Police Interrogation and Confessions: Communicating Promises and Threats by Pragmatic Implication," Law and Human Behavior, 1991, 12: 233-251.

[17]  74 Cr. App. R. 207 (C.A.), at p. 212.

[18] Supra note 1, Para [15].

[19] Supra note 1, Para [39]