Police Interview Representation
A police interview as a suspect in a criminal investigation will be a daunting experience, even when you know that you are not guilty of the allegation being put.
Most people may not know what their rights are in this situation. o you have to speak to the police and answer questions? What happens if you don’t? What information do the police have to disclose before interview? What will happen if I don’t answer questions?
The image of what amounts to a formal police interview is now being blurred as police forces across the country are being encouraged to interview suspects by consent outside the police station. This can often be in a person’s own home. Although the aim is to make the process less time consuming for the police, voluntarily interviews in these circumstance have the potential effect of making those interviewed take the process less seriously, and the safeguards that are present in the custody suite on arrest are removed.
At a police station a person being interviewed voluntarily or under arrest may well think the instruction of a solicitor wise. The importance of legal advice if interviewed in your own home will be just as important.
What is said, or not said, in police interview will direct the course of the investigation and will have a significant effect on any Crown Prosecution Service review of the evidence. The final importance of any decision made to answer police questions may not be fully appreciated by a suspect until a matter proceeds to court and trial.
The importance of legal advice is illustrated by a recent case. The client was advised dealt by our experienced accredited police station representative Rob Lowe who is based at our Chesterfield Office.
Rob attended Chesterfield Police Station to deal with a client who had been arrested for allegedly breaching a court restraining order. This type of offence can be taken very seriously by the court, with a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment for a single offence.
As the client was represented at interview, Rob was able to speak to the interviewing officer to obtain the details of the allegation. Such disclosure is not often given to an unrepresented suspect. Brief detail revealed that Rob’s client was said to have sent text messages to the victim and attended an address where he was not allowed to be in breach of the court order.
Rob was not satisfied with that limited information and was able to press the officer further about the evidence. The officer conceded that neither the alleged victim or the occupant of the address had confirmed in a statement that any offences had been committed. No mobile phone records existed to support the allegations either.
Rob then had the chance to speak to our client and take his instructions before advising him about his obligations in the police station and the strength of the evidence against him. In this case there was no admissible evidence that could be placed before a Court.
Rob was able to advise the client that in the absence of admissible evidence there would be no case for him to answer. As a result, the client was able, with confidence, to refuse to answer police questions. The advice was proved to be correct when the police chose to take no further action in relation to the allegation.
There are several advantages to seeking legal advice wherever the police interview:
- you have the benefit of an independent solicitor representing only your best interests
- this advice and representation will be free of charge under the legal aid scheme with our firm
- you are far more likely to receive disclosure of the evidence against you
- you have an opportunity to see an expert opinion of that evidence
- you have the benefit of ordering your thoughts and responses to police questions prior to interview if you have chosen to answer
- alternatively, you can be confident in any refusal to answer the questions following full advice
This firm operates an emergency call out scheme 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year to provide representation in police interview.
- If the police contact you to speak to them please call us immediately.
- If they arrive at your address and want to speak to you there and then insist on our attendance.
- If you find yourself in the police station awaiting interview make sure you ask for us.
Our representation in all of those circumstances will be free of charge to you.