Questioning by police

Discussion in 'protest, direct action and demos' started by AnnO'Neemus, Jun 28, 2018.

  1. AnnO'Neemus

    AnnO'Neemus Is so vanilla

    [NB: this isn't really protest, direct action and demos, but I thought folk who frequent this forum might have more awareness than average of legal rights, and I also didn't know where else might be the right home for it.]

    Say you happen to be having a conversation over the phone with a cop who is supposed to be investigating a crime committed against you and he says he's called you to ask you for more details... and you're talking for quite a while, and then he just happens to mention to you that the other person has made some allegations against you. You ask what the allegations are, but the cop refuses to say.

    So you've apparently been accused of numerous crimes, but the cop won't tell you what they are. [They also didn't tell you at the beginning of the conversation that there were accusations against you, didn't give you any kind of caution in that respect.] You freak out a bit and say you think you need to end the conversation if you're being accused of crimes that they won't even tell you about because you probably need to seek legal advice.

    You phone back and speak to someone else to try and clarify what's going on, and they mention counter-allegations and you being 'interviewed under caution'.

    I've just Googled and come across this:

    "Interviews under caution
    Once police have grounds to suspect someone of an offence, the person must be cautioned before being asked any further questions. Unless this is done, the suspect's answers, or silence, cannot be used in court. The interview should take place at a police station unless delay in bringing a suspect there would be damaging. A person cautioned is told: 'You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention, when questioned, something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.'"

    What it means when you are quizzed by police

    If there are (counter-)allegations against me, shouldn't the police officer have said so at the beginning of the conversation, and shouldn't he have cautioned me first?
  2. Athos

    Athos Well-Known Member

    To question a suspect about their involvement in an alleged offence without first cautioning them is a beach of PACE Code C para 10.1, which would make anything said inadmissible against you in any subsequent prosecution, and might afford you grounds for a complaint.*

    Can you give a bit more detail about the circumstances/offences etc.? (Understand if you can't.) In particular, whether your allegation and the counter- allegation refer to the same incident e.g. a fight where you each say the other threw the first punch, or completely different incidents. Because it's possible for them to properly ask you questions without the the need for a caution in the second scenario.

    * With all the usual caveats about this not being legal advice, that you should place no reliable on it, and seek independent legal advice, etc., etc.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2018
  3. Spandex

    Spandex Well-Known Member

    If you haven't been 'invited' to an interview under caution it may be that the police don't think the counter allegations amount to much.

    If they do invite you to an interview under caution it's because they want to see what evidence, if any, they can get about what you've been accused of. If they do find evidence amongst what you say about the allegations they could potentially arrest you.

    If they invite you in, they should tell you what crime you've been accused of, even if it's as vague as 'common assault' or 'fraud' or whatever.

    This is the important bit: if you are invited to an interview under caution TAKE A SOLICITOR WITH YOU. You are entitled to free legal support when being questioned by the police - solicitors can reclaim the cost of free legal council. As soon as the police invite you in, hit google and find a local solicitor who can support you. If you can afford it, have a session with the solicitor to talk things over first. It should cost about £60 or so - that's money well spent if you've got it. They can listen to what you plan to say and advise you of anything they think the police will quiz you about more, so you're prepared when the police do question you.

    If the police do invite you in they'll probably make it sound like a cosy chat to clear things up. Remember, even if you are entirely in the right, if you fuck it up, you could be arrested.

    You might have guessed from the above that this has happened to me. At first I got to explain in detail to a friendly young smart-haired copper what had happened (all recorded as evidence). Then an older potato faced copper went all bad cop on me trying to pull apart my account. Luckily in my case bad cop's heart wasn't in it as my accusers account had already been shown to defy both logic and physics, and it took 2 minutes for the police to let me go with no further action and a clean record.

    Hopefully the accusations won't hold up and you won't be invited in for an interview under caution. If you are, hope the above helps.

    Good luck!
  4. AnnO'Neemus

    AnnO'Neemus Is so vanilla

    But shouldn't they have to tell me what I'm being accused of anyway, irrespective of whether they invite me in for an interview under caution or not?

    I mean, don't I have a right to know what I'm being accused of? (And also the right to defend myself against such allegations?)

    I've phoned a local law firm and spoke to someone there who said she'd try to find out but the cops haven't got back to her. And in the meantime, I'm worried sick on one level, having unspecified allegations hanging over me... but not worried on the other because I know I haven't harassed her in any way whatsoever.

    So if does go further, I've hopefully already got a law firm that will send someone with me to an interview.

    But in the meantime, I just can't get my head round all this 'Allegations have been made against you but I'm not going to tell you what they are' stuff and I'm wondering if that's right and whether they have to tell me?

    I love your description of demolishing allegations against you on the grounds they defy logic and physics! :D Would love to hear more. :)
  5. Spandex

    Spandex Well-Known Member

    If the police think the allegations are a load of shit (I understand that's the correct legal terminology) then they don't need to share them with you. If you're accused of shooting JFK, kidnapping Maddie McCann and introducing the plague to Europe then do you need to know? If they think there's any substance to them they should tell you what they are and they'll 'invite' you in to question you about them.

    I had to wait a week to be interviewed - it was one of the most stressful of my life. On the plus side, you've done nothing wrong. If they do interview you telling the unvarnished truth is much easier than lying to the police. And you've probably been replaying events in your head trying to make sense of it all. That'll mean you've had a chance to think it through if the police do want to interview you. Which they hopefully won't.

    Hope the law firm can find something out for you. A good local solicitor will know many of the local coppers so has more chance of finding something out than you will.

    It's a long story, but their account had the action moving around like a film with no continuity editor.
    AnnO'Neemus likes this.
  6. AnnO'Neemus

    AnnO'Neemus Is so vanilla


    And yeah, the woman at the law firm did mention asking someone she knew, but it's taking so long, I'm totally on edge.

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