Talking with the Police – Should I do it?

If you have been charged with theft, assault, drug offences or any other crime, the Police will almost always ask you to give your side of the story. The most basic piece of advice I can give to a client is to not say anything to the Police. It is your right to not ‘self incriminate’, which means not say anything that would help the Police, and you should exercise this right.

If the Police have charged you with any crime, they have already made their decision about you. Nothing you say will convince them to change their mind about this. Anything that you do say to them after charged will almost always be used against you in court, just as they will warn you. Those words can be used by a skilled prosecutor to make it appear that you have changed your story when you testify, or to even suggest you are lying on the stand.

The Police will, however, go to great lengths to get you to give up your right to silence. You will be given the opportunity to talk to a lawyer, and then they will begin to ask you questions. Even after you say that you don’t wish to say anything, they will continue to ask more questions and attempt to engage you in conversation.

I have recently seen the Police go for over eight hours asking questions of an accused person, even though that accused indicated over and over that they did not wish to say anything. Depending on the severity of the charges, the efforts to get the accused to speak will be greater, but an accused person must remember that the more severe the charge, the more important it is to remain silent.

Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms – “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.”

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