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Legal > Criminal Law & Criminal Offences

Police Interviews:

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There is no general power for the police to arrest for the sole purpose of questioning. If a person has been taken to the police station by the police and a charge has not been laid, the police cannot detain the person and must release him or her.

When a person is approached by a police officer and taken to the police station under arrest, the situation can be extremely distressing, especially if this is the first time the person has been arrested. The person will be taken into a room and required to participate in police interviews. However, the accused is entitled to a number of rights and when asked to participate in a police interview, the accused may exercise his or her right to silence.

At the Police Station

If you are arrested for an offence and taken to the police station, your first point of contact should be a specialist Criminal Lawyer. By obtaining legal advice at the earliest possible opportunity, you will be able to protect your rights and interests. The police will ask you to participate in a range of processes including police interviews. It is critical that you do not make any statements to the police and reserve your right to silence, until you have a legal representative at your side.

Once your Criminal Solicitor arrives, they will request the following information before any further action can be taken on your case:

  • The charge/s;
  • The general nature of the allegations being made or alleged evidence held against you;
  • Inspection of any relevant documentation;
  • Whether the arrest was made by virtue of an arrest warrant and if so, a copy of the warrant; and
  • The police officer’s attitude to bail.

Your Criminal Solicitor will then discuss the above information with you and also ask for your side of the story. Questions that may be relevant include:

  • When and how did the arrest take place;
  • What information has the police provided to you about the charge/s;
  • Whether you have made any statements to the police from the time of first contact with the police to now; and
  • Any inappropriate behaviour by the police including threats, promises or inducements.

Deciding to participate in a Police Interview

There are disadvantages and advantages in taking part in police interviews. Generally, if it appears that the case against you is not clear or there is a possibility that the information provided by the police is insufficient, your Criminal Lawyer may advise that you do not participate in the police interview.

Participating in police interviews has the following disadvantages:

  • The police may not have enough evidence to establish the case against you and require some facts to be confirmed. The police can attempt to get you to concede to such facts during the police interview;
  • There is a significant risk that by taking part in a police interview, you will be providing further evidence to support the case against you;
  • The police may attempt to confirm any admissions made before the recorded interview. This is because any admissions made by you before the interview will not be admissible in Court and by asking you to confirm those admissions during the interview, the police will be able to ensure that those admissions become usable evidence in court.

On the other hand, in some very limited circumstances, you may want to participate in the police interview as it may assist your case. If this is the case, then your Criminal Lawyer can sit with you during the interview to ensure your interests are protected.

At the Interview

If you do decide to take place in the police interview, you will be given a caution before the questioning begins. This caution will essentially inform you that any evidence you provide in the police interview may be used as admissible evidence against you. The police interview may take place by way of an Electronically Recorded Interview of a Suspected Person (ERISP). If this method is used, you will be interviewed by way of a video device.

There are additional safeguards police must use when questioning vulnerable suspects including mentally ill patients, children and persons from a non-English speaking background. By contacting a Criminal Lawyer, you will be able to ensure that you are afforded specialist legal advice and protection of your rights and interests.

Our Criminal Lawyers have extensive experience in a range of police interviews and can provide you with the specialist advice you need to protect your rights and interests. Contact our office to speak to a specialist Criminal Lawyer immediately. 

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