AT THE POLICE STATION
2.1 Detention upon arrestYou will only be detained for maximum 48 hours.
- If the Police detains you for more than 48 hours, he will have to prefer the charge via videolink or to bring you to court. In court, the officer must tell the Judge why he wants to detain you further. The Judge will consider the reason(s) given and then decide whether you should be further detained or to be placed on bail.
- If the Police does not detain you for more than 48 hours, you will be put on Police bail to ensure you come back to the station or to attend Court when told to do so. You will need to get a family member or friend to bail you out.
Upon being arrested and detained, you are entitled to make a call to your family/lawyer informing them of your arrest.
Whilst in custody, you will be interviewed at length with breaks in between. You can also be taken to the crime scene. DNA samples, such as blood sample, fingerprint and photo identification are taken of you. Sometimes, you can be asked to take a lie-detector test. Any statement taken from you is called the ‘long statement’. When you are shown your statements, you have to look through the statement and correct the discrepancies and sign at the relevant amendments and at the bottom of the page as indicated by the police officer.
You can opt for an interpreter to help translate for you at the time of the recording of the statement.
It is always good practice to record down when you can what you have told the officer before you see your lawyer.
Sometimes investigations can take a while, from a few days to a few months, even 1 year to 2 years. It is advisable to co-operate with the police to provide all information you have at hand. If you have any witnesses, Defence or Alibi, it is advisable to inform the investigating officer. Alternatively, you can engage a lawyer to prepare a letter of representation on your behalf. If you have an Alibi, you have to give the full details to your lawyers so that they can do the necessary.
Once investigations are completed, the police officer will submit the case file to the Prosecution before any decision is made to charge you.
If a decision is made to charge you, the police officer will contact you. The meeting at the police station will be for the purposes of preferring the charge against you, i.e. reading the charge and asking you if you admit or do not admit to the charge. Even if you do not agree and when the police officer asks you to sign the charge sheet, that does not mean that you are admitting to the charge. It is just a formality. If you choose not to sign on the charge, it will be recorded that you refused to sign it. That is what will happen and does not mean you will face serious consequences for not signing. It is your right.
The charge is followed by a notice of warning (i.e. cautioned statement) stating that
“You have been charged of an offence ….. and do you want to say anything ….. if you keep quiet now ….. the Judge may be less likely to believe you …..”
This basically is an opportunity given to you to state your Defence. So please state all that you can. Do not rush off this by thinking that all has been said in the long statement, thus no need to repeat.
You can choose to write down your defence or it must be recorded by the investigating officer in the English Language. He will then read it over to you. Should there be any mistakes, you should insist that corrections be made.
Once you have verified the contents, you must sign it. This will be your Cautioned Statement.
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- Making closing submissions
Both your lawyer and the Prosecution will summarize the evidence and make respective arguments to the Court.
- The Court then makes its decision on whether you are guilty (convicted) or not guilty (acquitted). The court also has the power to reduce the charge against you.
- Can you contest the Court’s final decision?
If you are convicted after a trial, you can appeal against the Court’s decision on your conviction and/or your sentence.
However, if have you pleaded guilty, you can only appeal against the sentence given to you.
This appeal must be filed with the Criminal Justice Division’s Registry within 10 calendar days from the date which your verdict was announced.
Please note: There is no guarantee the appeal will be successful.
Always consult a lawyer when making such an important decision in your life.