Refuse police interview
It is really important to remember that you have a right to refuse to do a police interview. This applies whether the police want to do an informal interview with you on the street, in your home or at a crime scene.
You are allowed to refuse to do a formal police interview at the police station.
You need to remember that the purpose of a police interview is to gather evidence about the case that can then be used by them to charge those people involved in a crime.
The basis for you being allowed to refuse a police interview is due to you having a ‘right to silence’
Your right to silence is found under s89 of the Evidence Act NSW 1995. It is the law.
You can tell police that you do not want to be interviewed. This is part of your right to silence. This applies whether you are under arrest or not. It applies no matter where you are at the time. You are legally entitled to remain silent and refuse to answer questions.
If you are under arrest at the police station, you do not have to go with police to an interview room. This is especially the case if you have already told the police clearly that you do not wish to be interviewed.
Sometimes police will say to you that they wish to electronically record your refusal to be interviewed. This is their way of attempting to get you to be interviewed and you do not have to do this.
You do not have to be recorded saying anything.
It is important to remain polite at all times when you are in police custody and to remember that you are not obliged to say anything or answer questions from the police.
There may be circumstances where we do advise you to do a police interview. This may include where you have a strong alibi. You should however seek legal advice from the experienced lawyers at Able Defence Lawyers before you do any police interview.
You cannot be refused bail on the basis that you refused to do a police interview.
Refusing to be interviewed by the police is not being un-cooperative. It is your legal right to silence.
It is your right to say no or refuse a police interview and you cannot be penalised for it.
Police showing you photographs or CCTV
Sometimes police will want to show you photographs or CCTV. They may in fact ask you to identify yourself and others in those photographs or in the CCTV footage. You do not have to identify yourself or others in photographs or in CCTV footage.
As by doing this it may lead to you being charged by the police ultimately. You should always obtain legal advice.
As experienced criminal lawyers with over 20 years experience we are able to answer and provide you with legal advice in all aspects of refusing police interviews. You should immediately contact us before you do any police interview or answer police questions.
Your Rights when in Police Custody
If you are under arrest by the police you have the right to call a lawyer and get legal advice.
The police should assist you with making a call to your lawyer when you are in police custody.
At Able Defence Lawyers we are available 24 hours a day on 02 46265335 to provide you with legal advice, your legal rights to refuse to do a police interview.
WITNESSES TO A CRIME
If you are a witness you can also refuse to a do a police interview.
There is no legal obligation to provide information to police unless it is in relation to a very serious offence.
If you are uncertain about your rights as a witness you should seek legal advice from the experienced criminal lawyers at Able Defence Lawyers.
EXCEPTIONS TO THE RIGHT TO SILENCE AND REFUSING A POLICE INTERVIEW
There are some exceptions at law where police may require a person to disclose their identity. You cannot invoke a right to silence if police ask you for your identity in certain circumstances.
S11 LEPRA states, “a police officer may require a person whose identity is unknown to the officer to disclose to the officer his or her identity if the officer suspects on reasonable grounds that the person may be able to assist in the investigation of an alleged indictable offence, because the person was at or near the place where the alleged indictable offence occurred, whether before, or soon after it occurred.”
If your vehicle is involved in a serious crime you have a duty to disclose to the police the details of the driver and passengers at the time of the offence.
If you are uncertain about this please do not hesitate to call our experienced lawyers.
Alibi evidence and the presence of your lawyer at the police station
There are have recent changes in the law which can impact on you. Many of you may wish to have a lawyer present at the police station if you have been arrested. However with the changes in the law it can impact seriously on your right to silence and your right to refuse to do a police interview.
The government recently made amendments in relation to alibi evidence as well under s89A Evidence Act NSW:-
In certain situations a person’s refusal to answer questions or disclose a defence can be used against them in court as outlined below:-
- The alleged offence is an offence carrying a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment;
- At the time of being given an opportunity by the police if you failed to raise the defence (alibi) you later wish to rely on it at court and it was something that you could have told the police earlier; and
- When you were given the opportunity to give an interview to police you refused; and
- Before refusing to give that interview an opportunity was provided to you to obtain legal advice and;
- Before refusing to give the interview in the presence of your lawyer you were informed by the police that ,”you don’t have to do or say anything, but if you fail to say anything which is later relied on by you, it could adversely impact on your defence and anything you do or say can be used as evidence in court” (“Special Caution”)
What does this mean for you?
A failure to talk or refusing to give an interview to police in those circumstances can allow your silence to be used as a consciousness of guilt and/or an inference to your credibility. This is done in order for the prosecution to prove your guilt.
However it is important to be aware that this only applies if your lawyer is physically present with you at the police station.
Which is why we recommend and provide advice over the telephone to you and no longer come to the police station to be with you if you are under arrest.
Remember that you can always refuse a police interview and if you have any questions, concerns or are uncertain to seek legal advice as soon as possible.