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Criminal Law Blog NSW

Say nothing and do nothing before you get a legal advice

It doesn't matter what your age, or your situation, having an interview with Police is usually a terrible idea. Doing so without first obtaining advice from us is even worse.

We don't always recommend people don't participate in an interview - but that depends on a thorough understanding of the situation, the record and reputation for integrity of the Police involved and the instructions you give us regarding your own situation.

However, an interview is an investigative tool which, among other things, is designed to find out information about you and fill in gaps (or confirm already known details) in a case that is otherwise against you.

Walking into such a thing, is notoriously dangerous, particularly because whatever you say, will not be able to be undone. It is usually extremely difficult, even for experienced lawyers, to know how what you say today may affect you in court many months, or years, later. More than that, what you may think is an innocent enough remark, can become the turning point in consolidating and strengthening a case against you.

In Australia there is a temptation, particularly with young males, to throw hands up in the air and say, "well I have nothing to hide". That approach misses the point of an interview. No-one cares what you do or don't have to hide. It's about how what you say, or can be lead into saying, might tend to prove a case against you. It's a little bit like playing poker - you can win if you don't know your opponents cards, but it's a lot easier to win when you do. Giving an interview to Police means you are doing that before you have the knowledge of what is in the other guy's hands. Bluff can only get you so far.

Don't fall for the age old, "well, if you don't do an interview, we will have to charge you" line. That line is incomplete. The next bit of that sentence is, "but we're going to charge you anyhow". Which almost always happens. Do not underestimate how Police phrase what they say in careful language. Like lawyers, they don't tend to lie, they are very precise in the language.

Before you do an interview, speak with us. Until then: say nothing, do nothing. It minimises any chance of harm.

Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.

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