Attendance At Police Stations:
I cover all police stations where my clients have been arrested or asked to attend by appointment.
Every person arrested and held in a police station has a right to consult a solicitor. Even if you have been asked to attend a police station voluntarily because the police “want to speak to you”, this can be a daunting prospect. You also have a right to have a solicitor represent you. This is a statutory right enshrined in UK Law and guaranteed by ECHR.
I ensure that I seek all necessary information from the police to ensure that I am able to advise you properly. “Information is power” and usually the police will withhold crucial information so they have the element of surprise in the interview process. Hence if you end up answering questions without having discussed it with your lawyer it may mean that you portray your defence not necessarily in the best light.
The answer isn’t necessarily a no comment interview particularly since the court can draw an adverse inference from silence even if you answer no comment as a result of police failing to supply the information before the interview to your lawyer.
The solicitor needs to ensure that sufficient information is obtained from the police in order to advise the client. Equally there is no point in pressing the police too much in advance of the interview. This really is a judgement call in each and every case. It also primarily relies on the experience of the solicitor.Pressing the police officer in the interview might in fact result in the police making statements on tape providing further disclosure .Hence if the client is answering no comment this could result in an adverse inference being drawn at court particularly in view of the disclosure supplied by the police.
I don’t just sit there simply making notes. I play a proactive role in ensuring that my client is not being put under pressure and new evidence is not being introduced which the client has not discussed with me.
I have represented clients for the most serious offences and have experience of how to assist the client to their benefit in the police station. My view certainly is that it is my client’s interview hence it must give them an opportunity to put their case forward and I also ensure that I find out exactly why they have been arrested or asked to attend the station.