People tend to misunderstand Police interviews.
- The aim of a Police interview is to obtain admissible evidence to prosecute you;
- Sometimes the only evidence against you is what you said
- Any conversation with the police can be used in evidence.
- If you make a statement, police may charge you on the basis of what you say in it.
- The police are experts at getting information from people.
- A Police interview is the start of the police prosecution process against you.
- Police will charge people when they believe there is evidence to show that the person broke the law.
- Any suggestion that a conversation between you and the police is 'off the record' should be ignored.
- Written and verbal statements can be used in evidence.
A person may be told 'it will be easier if you make a statement', or 'bail will be granted more quickly if a statement is made'. Do not fall for tricks such as 'a co-offender has told us the whole story'.
Police can also listen to and note down conversations held by a person with anyone else, except a lawyer, and use it later in evidence against the person.
D LEGALBarristers & Solicitors has a team of criminal lawyers who are highly experienced in dealing with the Police. Dinesh Weerakkody is also the Lecturer │ Unit Convenor - Evidence Law at Swinburne University Law Faculty.
You are in safe hands with D LEGAL Barristers & Solicitors
Advantages and Disadvantages of Taking Part in an 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 to prove the offence when they question you. You may say something that may help the police prove the case against you.
- Providing your version of events to police often will not influence the police officer in deciding whether to issue a court attendance notice.
- The interview process can be very stressful and this may lead you to be confused or mistaken about what actually occurred. Often suspects who are interviewed will give an incorrect version of events and after reading the witness statements, remember what 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.
When Is It An Offence To Refuse To Answer A Police Question?
It is an offence to refuse to answer a police question if you are concealing information about a serious indictable offence that would lead to a prosecution.
A serious indictable offence is an offence that has a maximum term of imprisonment of 5 years or more. The maximum term of imprisonment for refusing to answer is 2 years or 5 years if you gain some benefit from the information. A common example of this is when a family member of a drug dealer turns a blind eye to the supply of prohibited drugs.
Dinesh Weerakkody LLB; PDLP
Barrister & Solicitor (An Australian Legal Practitioner)
An Australian Migration Agent (0742843)
Lecturer │ Unit Convenor │ Swinburne University Law School
4 Burwood H’way Burwood, VIC 3125, Australia
MOB +61 425725570