When the police conduct an investigation, they will eventually need to speak to the suspect.
This can be arranged in a number of ways:-
1. Attend at the suspect’s residential or work address and request the suspect to come to the police station for an interview
If the suspect refuses to attend by arrangement, the police usually have the right to arrest the suspect.
At the police station, the suspect will be given the opportunity to ring family and a lawyer. However, at this point, it is often difficult to get in contact with a lawyer and nearly impossible to arrange for the lawyer to come down to the police station. If a suspect is concerned that the police might arrive without notice, it is not a bad idea to see a lawyer first.
2. Ring the suspect and request the suspect to attend at the police station with or without a lawyer at the suspect’s discretion
Whatever way the suspect arrives at the police station, the police can request the suspect to remain there for a reasonable time to conduct inquiries and an interview.
The suspect will be entered into the Victorian computer system so that if the suspect’s family or lawyer rings police headquarters, it can be determined whether or not the suspect is currently in a police station in Victoria.
The suspect will be taken to an interview room.
The interview will eventually commence and these days, it is common for the interview to be recorded in an audio-video format. This means that at the end of the interview, the suspect will be given a DVD which can be taken home and give to his or her lawyers in due course.
If the suspect is charged, this DVD will be played to the court and in a jury trial, to the jury.
Accordingly, what the suspect says in an interview of this kind is potentially a cornerstone of the police case and the defence case.
It is very important to understand that this interview can make or break a suspect if the suspect should be charged.
If the interview is properly approached, it might mean that the suspect is never be charged.
It must be remembered that when a police officer investigates a case, it is the officer’s duty to find out all sides of the story. Often times when a suspect refuses to answer any questions, it makes the suspect his own worse enemy.
Sometimes by saying nothing, it allows the police a one-sided version of the police case.
It is also of importance to note that if the suspect is charged and wins the case at court, costs may not be awarded if the suspect gave a ‘no comment’ record of interview.
However, in certain cases it is very important to make a ‘no comment’ record of interview.
These are all matters of degree and need the expertise of a lawyer to assist.
A point of interest here is that if a record of interview is in a ‘no comment’ format, the court will not hear the record of interview. However, if there are ‘no comment’ answers to some of the questions but answers to others, the court will hear the record of interview.
In some cases, this is the worst possible scenario. It is important to be consistent in a record of interview.
Other useful information:-
Persons present during interview
There are usually two police officers present during the interview although it is mostly just the one who will be asking the questions
Duration of interview
Interview times vary, from 15 minutes to all day. Suspects are allowed a break if the interview is starting to take time and the recording is suspended whilst a break is taking place.
How I can help
I attend with clients for interviews on a regular basis. You can give me a ring to have a free consultation about your problems. However, a fee will be payable if I attend at a police station with you. You will find that my legal fees are reasonable.