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Called in for questioning by the Police, what rights exist?

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Re: Called in for questioning by the Police, what rights exi

Postby Spankymonkey » Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:39 pm

Maz JP wrote:
Spankymonkey wrote:I guess you haven't been in a police station for a number of years Shootist. In reality, all the OPs friend is likely to get is to speak to a paralegal at CDS Direct.


I'm rather sure that this is nowhere near a universal truth, but would like to know whether there is some truth in it?

Duty Solicitors are the unsung heroes of the legal world imo.


I never laid claim to it being a universal truth Maz. However I'm sure you will be able to do your own research on the matter, given that you place no value in mine.

CDS Direct is provided to detainees at a police station for less serious offences such as drink-driving, non-imprisonable offences, breach of bail and voluntary attendance. Request to see a duty solicitor will be denied by both the police and CDS direct under such circumstances. The police will not volunteer information to the detainee that he can request a solicitor if he pays for one. But even then he will be forced to make this request through CDS where he will be sent on a merry-go-round between different call centres.

If you have to speak to one of the CDS call agents on the phone they will attempt to advise you. Most of them are paralegals. Allegedly some of them are law students. The advice they give is vague, patchy and lacking.

Most detainees who are bulldozed into using the service will just accept it without challenge. They won't understand, that they have a statutory right to consult a solicitor and that they are being denied that right. The police certainly won't be telling them this. Nor will anyone at CDS. Nor the duty solicitor, because they won't be seeing one.

Don't take this as an insult Maz, but I am surprised that you are unaware of this. Given the fact that in all likelihood you have dealt with many a non imprisonable offence where police interviews have been entered as evidence, despite the fact that the defendant was denied their rights to a free solicitor, and undertook the interview unrepresented.

I see nothing heroic about duty solicitors who are, after all, just doing their job. They don't work for free and are paid very well to be in attendance. It is also a good opportunity to get clients. Some of them will also do double shifts and it is not unusual to have one roaming the halls of the police station, having been on duty for a full 24 hours.

They also have a very matey attitude to the police officers they work among, and this can appear to be very disconcerting to those who are left with no other alternative except to use a duty solicitor.

In my opinion a true hero of a duty solicitor would be one that elects to see a detainee who has been palmed off with a CDS call handler. But as they won't get paid if they represent such a detainee, then I doubt there will be many heroes coming forward.
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Re: Called in for questioning by the Police, what rights exi

Postby Maz JP » Thu Jan 19, 2017 8:32 am

Spankymonkey wrote:Don't take this as an insult Maz, but I am surprised that you are unaware of this. Given the fact that in all likelihood you have dealt with many a non imprisonable offence where police interviews have been entered as evidence, despite the fact that the defendant was denied their rights to a free solicitor, and undertook the interview unrepresented.

I too am surprised, which is why I asked the question. I don't think I have heard of this before, which is why I wonder if it's a regional thing.

Glad to say though that the number of defendants we deal with who were not represented in the interview tends to very much be in the minority.
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Re: Called in for questioning by the Police, what rights exi

Postby Spankymonkey » Thu Jan 19, 2017 7:55 pm

Maz JP wrote:
Spankymonkey wrote:Don't take this as an insult Maz, but I am surprised that you are unaware of this. Given the fact that in all likelihood you have dealt with many a non imprisonable offence where police interviews have been entered as evidence, despite the fact that the defendant was denied their rights to a free solicitor, and undertook the interview unrepresented.

I too am surprised, which is why I asked the question. I don't think I have heard of this before, which is why I wonder if it's a regional thing.



It's a law commission thing. Applied to every police station in England and Wales.

Maz JP wrote:Glad to say though that the number of defendants we deal with who were not represented in the interview tends to very much be in the minority.


I have to ask, how you can be sure of this?
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Re: Called in for questioning by the Police, what rights exi

Postby Smouldering Stoat » Thu Jan 19, 2017 8:11 pm

The Law Commission recommends law reform to Parliament. For example, it is responsible for the regular repeals of obsolete law. Perhaps you are thinking of another body.
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Re: Called in for questioning by the Police, what rights exi

Postby atticus » Thu Jan 19, 2017 9:20 pm

Is the old Legal Aid Board now called the Legal Services Commission?
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Re: Called in for questioning by the Police, what rights exi

Postby Smouldering Stoat » Thu Jan 19, 2017 9:53 pm

Between 2000 and 2013, yes, but even that was replaced by the Legal Aid Agency.
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Re: Called in for questioning by the Police, what rights exi

Postby Spankymonkey » Fri Jan 20, 2017 1:41 pm

Smouldering Stoat wrote:The Law Commission recommends law reform to Parliament. For example, it is responsible for the regular repeals of obsolete law. Perhaps you are thinking of another body.


Apologies for the misnomer, I did indeed mean the Legal Services Commission who ran the legal aid scheme when the CDS call centre was introduced.
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Re: Called in for questioning by the Police, what rights exi

Postby TenaciousB » Tue May 09, 2017 10:15 am

What laws govern the procedure to interview people?
At what point is the accused allowed to know details of what they've been accused of?
I've been told that the information will only be disclosed to a solicitor immediately before the interview. However, I know of someone who didn't attend an interview but instead provided a statement prepared by a solicitor, so they must have had knowledge of what they were accused of.
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Re: Called in for questioning by the Police, what rights exi

Postby dls » Tue May 09, 2017 10:50 am

SpankyMonkey's description fails for prejudice. Yes, the system struggles, but is not generally as bad as he suggests.

To say that a detainees is not told of his right to see a solicitor for free is wrong on two counts at least.

First, it is not a right to see a solicitor, but a right to legal advice. The people who give that advice have passed a course to establish at least minimum standards.

Second, detainees are given it in writing that they have this right.

What laws govern the procedure to interview people?
At what point is the accused allowed to know details of what they've been accused of?
I've been told that the information will only be disclosed to a solicitor immediately before the interview. However, I know of someone who didn't attend an interview but instead provided a statement prepared by a solicitor, so they must have had knowledge of what they were accused of


Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and the Codes under it, and several other bits of law.
The process of disclosure is rather less immediate. At interview, I worked on the basis that an interview would only go ahead after I had had disclosure. If they played games, I stopped the interview and started again. The only remedy at this stage is to explain that no answers will be given because of non-disclosure. To be fair, the police understood that doing it this way worked to provide a better interview for all concerned.
After charge there are much stricter rules about full disclosure.
It has to be remembered that these things are often happening against a background of a constantly developing investigation.
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Re: Called in for questioning by the Police, what rights exi

Postby shootist » Tue May 09, 2017 6:39 pm

TenaciousB wrote:However, I know of someone who didn't attend an interview but instead provided a statement prepared by a solicitor, so they must have had knowledge of what they were accused of.


There is a small, but significant difference between being accused of something and being suspected of something. When I was with Trading Standards we sometimes 'interviewed' individuals, and more often companies by mail as we had no powers of arrest, or at least none we were prepared to use. It was usually a bloody pointless exercise that resulted in email ping pong until a few days before any statutory obligation they had to answer, but it had it's uses sometimes.
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