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The Criminal Caution

BY A POLICE CONSTABLE AND AT COMMENCEMENT OF POLICE INTERVIEW

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.
Section 34 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 provides that:

(1)Where, in any proceedings against a person for an offence, evidence is given that the accused

(a)At any time before he was charged with the offence, on being questioned under caution by a constable trying to discover whether or by whom the offence had been committed, failed to mention any fact relied on in his defence in those proceedings, or
(b)On being charged with the offence or officially informed that he might be prosecuted for it, failed to mention any such fact,  being a fact which in the circumstances existing at the time the accused could reasonably have been expected to mention when so questioned, charged or informed, as the case may be.

This caution when read or given verbally quickly by a police officer in an interview room, or elsewhere for that matter, is understood by very few people.

What Does This Caution Mean?

The aim of section 34 is to prevent defendants raising issues at court as part of the defence, and it follows, then too late for the police atr that point in ntime, to investigate as they are fully obliged to do the various points that may be made, or to enable the police after such investigation has been carried out, to challenge those points.

Therefore, this section, allows the court to infer inferences, and may therefore draw an adverse inference from the initial failure to mention applicable facts in interview. Therefore, this may be attributed to guilt.

There are 3 ingredients to the caution as follows:

  1. That what you say in an interview will be used in court.
  2. IF you are charged and plead not guilty, then the court could ask whether any evidence as to what you say in court was actually said in interview. If the evidence was not mentioned in interview, and was mentioned in court later, the court may be reluctant to believe that evidence.
  3. You have the right not to answer any questions put, that is not to say anything. The prosecution  must prove all the elements of the case, there is no obligation to help them.
Criminal Defence

Practice Area - Criminal

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