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The Right To Silence

Everyone has the right not to answer questions asked by the police in an interview. Sometimes “going no comment” is absolutely the best thing to do. Sometimes though it isn’t. That is why our advisors at the police station will consider your individual case and give you advice specific to you about whether you should answer questions or not.



It Is Your Decision Whether To Answer Questions Or Not.


Deciding whether to answer police questions or make no comment replies in police interview can be difficult.  There are many things to think about. Everyone is cautioned at the start of an interview, where the police officer will say “You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say can be given in evidence.”

This caution has three parts to it. First of all you do not need to say anything. People at the police station have a right top silence. That’s fairly straight forward. The last bit is also easy. If your case goes to court then what is said in an interview will form part of the evidence in the case. The difficult bit is the bit in the middle.

When the caution says that it may harm your defence if you do not mention something which you later rely on in court, what it means is that there is an expectation that people will want to answer questions and a court may take the view that the reason someone stays quiet is that they have no explanation to give, and any explanation that they gave at a subsequent trial may have been made up later. This is where a judgement has to be made about the right approach to take, and where having expert legal advice is a major benefit.


Our Role Is To Look After You

Our police station advisors have one job at the police station, to give you the best possible advice. They don’t take anything else into account apart from this. Their advice to you will be based on what works best for you. Everything you tell them and the advice that they give you is completely confidential. We don’t disclose it to anyone else, and so there are no outside pressures to affect the advice that we give you.


Speaking With Your Solicitor


The legal advisor at the police station will always try and find out from the police what the evidence is that they want to talk to you about. They will then speak to you in private and discuss with you what your account is, what the police are saying and how strong your case and theirs are. They will take as long as necessary to do this, so you won’t be rushed through the process. Your legal advisor will also make sure that you are fit and able to take part in the interview.



What If I Am Guilty Of The Allegation?


The fact that you have committed the offence does not mean that the police can prove it. Everyone is entitled to be treated as being innocent unless the case can be proved beyond reasonable doubt. On the other hand, courts are required to give offenders discounts on their sentence if they plead guilty early. It may be that the evidence is such that you are likely to be convicted, and so answering questions may get you the greatest discount on your sentence. This will be a judgement call in each case, and your police station representative will advise you about this.

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