What is a video record of interview?

When a person is suspected of having committed or being involved with an offence, the Police will often arrest that person as a suspect and give them the opportunity to participate in a video record of interview, or alternatively, invite them into the Police station to participate voluntarily. In essence, the Police will ask questions that seek answers from a suspect in relation to their involvement in a suspected offence.

Are you required to participate in a video record of interview?

In a general sense, you are not required to answer any questions asked by the Police, either in a video record of interview, or for that matter, during a search of your vehicle or place of residence. You can refuse to answer questions because, as fundamental rule, you have a right to silence. Accordingly, you may refuse to answer all or some of the questions that the Police ask you.

Rights of a suspect

As a suspect, you have a number of rights that include the right to contact a lawyer, the right to contact family or a friend to let them know of your whereabouts, the right to seek medical assistance, the right to an interpreter (if English is not your first language), the right to privacy from the mass media and importantly, the right to know the offence for which you have been arrested and the offences that you are suspected to have committed. As is set out above, you also have the right to silence and are not required to say anything unless you so choose.

Should you participate in a video record of interview?

It is important that you obtain legal advice from a criminal defence lawyer prior to participating in a video record of interview. In essence, it may be the case that because of the nature of your charges, it would simply not be of any benefit for you to participate in a video record of interview or, in some instances, may simply be damaging to your own case. It is also important that the nature of the above rights are set out in detail for your benefit, so that you understand exactly what to expect when the Police do seek your participation in an interview.

As much as you may want to tell your own side of the story, it is important that you get this advice as your decision may have an important bearing on the ultimate chances of success at trial. This is because, subject to certain exceptions, any admission made by you in relation to a matter can become evidence in your trial or sentencing hearing. Quite often, people will reflect on what they have said in an interview and be frustrated by the fact that what they have said simply wasn’t quite right or didn’t come across in the way that adequately reflects what the actual position is. This is understandable because in a video record of interview, there is a clear power imbalance because the suspect is generally unnerved by the process, doesn’t know all of the facts surrounding the Police investigation and are generally tested in a cynical fashion by the Police. All of this can result in the giving of answers that, because of these factors, are just not very good. This is why it is important to seek comprehensive advice from a criminal defence lawyer prior to your participation in an interview with the Police. Failing that, it is possible that the prospects of a successful outcome at trial can be irreparably damaged.

If you expect to be interviewed by the Police, it is important that you seek advice from a Perth criminal defence lawyer so that you understand the process and all of your legal rights as a suspect. If you require advice on an urgent basis please phone 0431 454 908 or simply use the form below and I will get back to you within the hour.

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