It starts when someone (the complainant) reports you to police for something you have said or done which meets the legal test for an offence.
Client’s will often ask: “where’s the evidence?” What the complainant has to say about your behaviour is their evidence. Client’s will say: “… that person’s lying…” and, “…why can’t the police see that…”.
The role of the police
A police officer’s role is to take the complaint and then carry out an investigation. It is not their job to decide the merits of the case or whether the complainant is lying or whether you are guilty or not guilty. Courts decide those questions.
It is important to remember that if you are charged with an offence – the offence and the material facts underlying the offence – are all alleged.
That is everything said about you remains unproven, and you have the presumption of innocence, until you face court to either plead guilty if you agree with the material facts or you not guilty and go to trial if you don’t.
The legal process
The process is exceedingly slow and therefore frustrating to clients who believe they’re being treated unfairly by police. The police are invariably doing their job. The role of your lawyer is to ensure that the police are in fact doing their job.