I receive quite a few calls during the week and over the weekend from police calling on behalf of people who have been arrested and are about to be questioned by the police. What happens is that the police will visit a person’s home or work, put a complaint to them and then may arrest the person who then becomes the accused. The accused is then taken into custody and questioned. Before questioning, an investigating officer (I/O) will inform the accused that he or she may speak to a lawyer.
If the answer is yes, the I/O will do a phone around. When I get the call I ask the I/O about the accused’s details before I take the call. When I speak to the accused I caution them not to say anything to me because police are invariably present during what is a solicitor-client privileged conversation – they have even refused to leave the accused alone to talk to me even when I ask them to leave the room to give the accused privacy.
Legal Advice to Person of Interest
Anyway, my strict advice to the accused or person of interest is to not participate in a record of interview thereby maintaining their right to silence. I then obtain the I/O’s name and rank and PD number. At the conclusion of my conversation with the accused I email the I/O confirming my advice to the accused not to participate in a record of interview. Invariably, the accused does not speak to police and they are either kept in custody to appear in court the next day, or released on bail or given a notice to appear in court at a later time.
Essential Lesson – Maintain Your Right to Silence
The essential lesson for anyone arrested by police is – do not say anything, maintain your right to silence and promptly seek legal advice from a criminal lawyer.