The Police Interview
The police interview is the crucial part of the investigation - at least as far as the police are concerned. Everything up to this point had been to make sure that from now on all the questions and the answers that you give are admissible in a court of law.
Why are police interviews crucial as far as the police are concerned? Why do they always want to interview you?
In a properly conducted police interview anything that you say which is against your interests
is assumed to be true. Let me give you an extreme example. There is a robbery. You are arrested. The robber is alleged to have had a knife. You say in your interview "I did not do the robbery, but yes I do carry a knife" (thats illegal by the way). The statement is called a exculpatory statement. The prosecution can seek to admit it to prove that you indeed carry a knife. Despite your denial you have made an admission.
Admissions help the police to prove a case against you and help the deciders of fact decide if you have done an offence. They can be devastating at trial. In extreme cases they can prove the whole of the prosecution case against you.
How long should a police interview last?
There is no set time for a police interview to last. Though the codes of practice suggest that breaks should be given at regular intervals i.e. 90 mins. Neither is there any guidance as to what questions should be asked.
Why should I have a solicitor? Won't the police think I am guilty if I do?
A solicitor is a basic legal right in all police investigations where the police are interviewing a suspect. Criminal Solicitors and Criminal police station reps or representatives are experts in criminal law. To give you a idea, to become a criminal solicitor most criminal solicitors in England and Wales will have successfully passed a law degree. They will then have embarked on a legal practice course which is at least two years in duration and spent two years undertaking a training contract in a solicitors practice. To become a police station criminal duty solicitor you will have to pass a portfolio demonstrating your competence at advising clients at police stations; a critical incident test and complete a specified number of police station attendances both on your own and being supervised by your training solicitor. To be a criminal solicitor at court you will also need to be tested on advocacy; produce a portfolio and prove your competence.
Criminal solicitors and police station representatives are experts on criminal law. The police are not. Their job is to deter crime. This means ultimately investigating and obtaining convictions. A Criminal Solicitor can tell you whether you are guilty in law. The police cannot. Frequently in police interviews the police will try and drive a wedge between you and your solicitor by saying things like." Your solicitors advice is only advice. You dont have to take it. You will be the one before the court". My reply to that is think why the police are saying this. You would not take advice from a person you have just met to fix your car who has no mechanical qualifications. The police do not practice law. Their job is to police. Their interests are not your interests. A criminal lawyers first duty is to his client; you. The police's first duty is to protect the public. They have no duty to you to give competent legal advice whatsoever.
More coming in part 4 - The Police Interview (Continued)
If you have a voluntary police interview in England or Wales and want free legal representation either at a voluntary interview or if you have been arrested please contact police station agent on 07535 494446 for free police station representation by Robert Cashman a fully qualified criminal solicitor who works on behalf of Tuckers solicitors. Representation can be by remote attendance if you are outside our local area or in person in Kent and South East London.