Interview At The Police Station
The maxim remains – A person is innocent until proven guilty. It is for the police to prove the case against a person. Accordingly, that person has the absolute right in law to remain silent, and it is then for the police to make enquiries and find evidence against that person. Generally speaking, in such circumstances, the person in interview will either remain silent or state no comment to the frequent questions that would still be asked of that person. The police have the duty to ask as many relevant questions as they consider fit.
By way of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1995, the Court can draw such adverse inferences from silence as appears correct so to do.
So what are the inferences that may be drawn from silence?
In all circumstances inferences can only be drawn by a Court from a person's silence, that is, by way of refusing to answer questions put by the investigating police officer in the course of interview, or refusing to account for matters that are relevant to the investigation. This includes the response of no comment.
It is essential therefore, in law, that the Police comply with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, so that an inference is able to be drawn by a Court from the person's silence.
If a person has not been arrested, then absolutely no inference may be drawn under section 36 and 37 of that Act.
Adverse inferences CANNOT be the only basis for the Court finding a person guilty. The Court may only draw an inference.
A suspect is arrested by police, taken to the police station, all correct PACE procedures are followed by police through to interview, and the suspect is questioned about being present at the scene of a crime, and decides to remain silent and makes no comment at all, despite intense police questioning, and the police clearly stating that it is the suspect's opportunity in interview to state their side of the story, and warnings are given about inference.
Read our article about your legal entitlements whilst at the police station..