Interviews are normally conducted at the police station by police officers, but more often, other prosecuting authorities such as local councils and government bodies are using the facilities as well.
Nicholls & Nicholls understand that not only is their the anxiety relating to accusations being made against you, but being at a police station in an unnatural environment, can also add to the pressure and the stress of the situation. This is why we are experts when dealing with investigations from the outset and from the initial interview.
Knowing your rights can make all the difference when an investigation is being conducted which is why you should always seek advice from a legal professional with expertise in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and interview procedures.
Whether it be a civil or criminal investigation, being conducted by the police or another organisation, you will always be cautioned:
‘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 may be given in evidence.’
The information in the caution can be crucial to a case and is why legal advice is so important. If you provide an account in interview and then change your account at a later date if the matter goes to Court, then the Judge or Jury may wonder why the account has changed. In most occasions, this can have a detrimental impact on a case.
The caution does also state that you have a right to silence. This means that you do not need to answer the questions that are asked during the interview process, but again, a
s above, if the case did proceed to court, a Judge or Jury may wonder why you remained silent. There are lots of different reasons why someone may not answer questions. It is commonly thought that the only reason someone would not answer questions is if they are guilty. This is completely untrue.
As an example, it may be that the investigators have withheld your right to legal advice- this doesn’t necessarily mean that your lawyer isn’t present, but that they haven’t allowed you the opportunity to obtain advice on the questions they are asking. This is a fundamental right and therefore remaining silent until you know the case against you can be completely understandable in these instances.
Another example would be if a company director is accused
of a fraud relating to several different layers and over an extended period of time. It may be that remaining silent until you are able to conduct your own enquiries and understand the allegations in full is the better course of action in these circumstances.
Nicholls & Nicholls may also be able to assist in any attendance being on a voluntary basis and avoiding arrest entirely, although the interview will still happen. Not only does this prevent an individual being held in a secure cell within the custody suite at the police station, but it also means that your fingerprints and photograph is not taken. Also, if a person is placed under arrest, even if the case is dropped, the information relating to the arrest will always remain on the Police National Computer for intelligence purposes.