More than half of people interviewed by the police do not take up their right to have free legal advice.
The police station can be a bewildering and scary experience. Being in a cell for hours on end with no idea what is happening.
Here are some (poor) reasons for not asking for legal advice: -
I didn’t want to wait – often because the police have wrongly claimed it will take hours for us to get there. Usually we make interviews happen sooner rather than later by pressing the police to get on with it. Bridgwater Express Park (was there ever a less aptly named police station?) is notoriously slow. Our team can get to the police station in 45 minutes or quicker. Normally we arrange to attend when the police are ready so there is no delay.
I was worried it would cost me money – advice at the police station is free!
I hadn’t done anything wrong – An interview is to obtain evidence by questioning – that means evidence against the person being interviewed. A legal adviser will protect your interests. What is said in interview may be very important and poured over by lawyers, magistrates or juries. Getting it right is vital.
I was guilty and I wanted to confess – no problem. Our role is to explain the strength of the evidence. It maybe that your confession will be the only evidence that the police have. As long as you understand that. Our role is to make sure you make informed decisions and understand the consequences.
I just went ‘no comment’ and you can sort it out – it’s not always that easy. Making no comment and whether a Court can draw inferences from your silence is complicated and has taken up a lot of Court time over the years. Advice is needed before making a decision to go ‘no comment’.
I thought it would make me look guilty – it doesn’t. It is your right. Here is a clue – in our experience – the vast majority of police officers arrested ask for a solicitor!