Your decision as to whether to answering questions in a Police interview is often a difficult one to make. There are often advantages and disadvantages of answering questions in a police interview. Each case is unique and our advice often varies from case to case whether you should answer questions in a Police interview.
You should definitely get advice from a lawyer before you answer questions in a Police interview.
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Generally no unfavourable inference can be drawn from refusing to answer questions in a Police interview. Normally you would say "no comment" in answer to every question. Selective answering of questions (ie answering some and not others) could be used against you.
However, there are laws that require you to answer certain answer questions in a Police interview. If the person fails to provide a response, the person may be guilty of a criminal offence. An example being named the driver of your car at a particular time if you are asked.
Advantages and disadvantages of answering questions in a Police interview
- Your denial if accepted may mean that police do not charge you with a criminal offence.
- Your version may be more readily accepted by the court because you told the police what you knew at the time of your arrest and before seeing the witness statements.
- The court must take into account your remorse when sentencing you.
- Failure to answer a question may be an offence.
- Police often do not have enough evidence against you when they ask you questions in a police interview. You may say something that may help the police prove the case against yourself.
- Providing a version of events to police often will not influence the police officers decision to charge you. They have generally made up their mind before they interview you.
- The interview process can often be very stressful and this may lead you to be confused or mistaken about what actually occurred. Often suspects who are asked questions in a Police Interview will give an incorrect version of events by mistake. After reading the witness statements they remember what really occurred. It is always difficult for an accused person to convince a court that they were mistaken about the facts and have not changed their evidence to support their case.
- If you are going to implicate others in the crime, there may be repercussions especially if you are likely to remain in custody.
Information that may assist you in making the decision
You or your solicitor may be able to obtain information from the police officer investigating your matter. Details in respect of the following matters may assist you making this decision:
- Whether participation in a record of interview will effect their decision re issuing charges?
- The evidence the police have against you. (ask them to show you the evidence)
- Whether you are likely to be granted bail.
- Whether it is an offence to fail to provide an answer to any question (which a lawyer will know).