Interview at a Police Station
The maxim remains – A person is innocent until proven guilty. It is for the police to prove the case against a person. Accordingly, that person has the absolute right in law to remain silent, and it is then for the police to make enquiries and find evidence against that person. Generally speaking, in such circumstances, the person in interview will either remain silent or state no comment to the frequent questions that would still be asked of that person. The police have the duty to ask as many relevant questions as they consider fit.
By way of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1995, the Court can draw such adverse inferences from silence as appears correct so to do.
So what are the inferences that may be drawn from silence?
In all circumstances inferences can only be drawn by a Court from a person’s silence, that is, by way of refusing to answer questions put by the investigating police officer in the course of interview, or refusing to account for matters that are relevant to the investigation. This includes the response of no comment.
It is essential therefore, in law, that the Police comply with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, so that an inference is able to be drawn by a Court from the person’s silence.
If a person has not been arrested, then absolutely no inference may be drawn under section 36 and 37 of that Act.
Adverse inferences CANNOT be the only basis for the Court finding a person guilty. The Court may only draw an inference.
A suspect is arrested by police, taken to the police station, all correct PACE procedures are followed by police through to interview, and the suspect is questioned about being present at the scene of a crime, and decides to remain silent and makes no comment at all, despite intense police questioning, and the police clearly stating that it is the suspect’s opportunity in interview to state their side of the story, and warnings are given about inference.
Click here for a case example
B .v. C
The client was interviewed on a voluntary basis by police at a British Transport Police Station, to provide a statement, in a canteen, under the Police and Criminal evidence Act 1984, in relation to a matter of unacceptable behavior at a Railway Station. As a result, the client was offered a caution, to be accepted within a period of 7 days. The client sought the advice of Penman Sedgwick.
It was found that the Codes of PACE 1984 were breached by the police officer, and on representation to police, no further action was taken against the client.
Legal Entitlements at a Police Station
Whilst in custody, you are entitled to:
To have somebody informed of your arrest and to legal advice
To make one telephone call
To be supplied with writing materials
Where practicable, to be provided with your own cell.
The cell should be clean, heated, ventilated and lit
The bedding in the cell should be clean and serviceable.
To be provided with two light meals and one main meal each day.
Drinks to be provided with meals and on reasonable request between meals.
Access to toilet and washing facilities
In the event that your clothing is taken from you, then replacement clothing to be provided that is clean and comfortable.
You may request to see a Doctor, or indeed a private doctor at your own expense, for a medical examination if required. Own medication may be allowed to be taken, subject to a Doctor`s authorisation, at appropriate times. In the event of controlled drugs, a medical practitioner or healthcare professional will supervise the medication being taken.
Brief outdoor exercise to be offered each day whilst in custody.
When detention is reviewed, you have the statutory right to state why you think you should be released; unless unfit due to behaviour, condition or are asleep.
YOU HAVE THE LEGAL RIGHT TO SPEAK TO A SOLICITOR AT THE POLICE STATION AT ANY TIME, DAY OR NIGHT.
ACCESS TO LEGAL ADVICE CAN ONLY BE DELAYED IN EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES.
YOU CAN TALK TO A SOLICITOR IN PRIVATE ON THE TELEPHONE, AND THE SOLICITOR MAY COME TO SEE YOU AT THE POLICE STATION.
IF YOU WANT TO SEE A SOLICITOR INFORM THE CUSTODY OFFICER IMMEDIATELY.
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO CONSULT THE CODES OF PRACTICE AT ANY TIME
PENMAN SEDGWICK STRONGLY RECOMMEND THAT LEGAL ADVICE IS OBTAINED FROM A QUALIFIED SOLICITOR.