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Interview Under Caution(8 Posts)
Would the police ever interview a witness under caution?
I was at the scene of an altercation between a group of people and someone in the group is being investigated by the police on suspicion of an offence. I have been contacted by an officer to attend a local police station to have an interview under caution, where they have just said they want my account of events as a witness.
I always thought these were conducted when someone is under suspicion themselves, not as a witness.
I am concerned now about attending.
Why do we have to interview under caution?
If you are invited to attend an interview under caution then it does not mean that you have done anything wrong.
However, where it appears that an offence has been committed then we are duty bound to inform you of your legal rights and interview you under caution. The interview under caution is to enable the council to establish the facts and is also your opportunity to give your side of the story.
We cannot discuss the allegation before the interview either in person or by telephone. This may sound obstructive but we have to inform you of your legal rights before we question you and also ensure that everything that is said is recorded.
What are my legal rights?
Your legal rights are very important and are in place to ensure that you are treated correctly by the council officers. You will be cautioned in the same way that the Police do, which is:
"You do not have to say anything but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in Court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence."
The caution means that you do not have to answer any of our questions. You can if you wish remain silent or say 'no comment'. However if the matter went to Court and you give an answer at Court that you could have given at the interview then the Court will wonder why.
The Court will draw its own conclusions as to why you did not answer the question when you had the opportunity to. The final part of the caution means that anything you do say can be repeated.
If you do not understand the caution then please tell us because it is very important that you do understand it
When you attend an interview under caution, you are not under arrest and the Council officers cannot detain you in any way. This means that you have the right to leave at any time. If the council officers are interviewing you under caution in your own house then you may ask them to leave at any time.
You also have the right to have a legal representative present.
The above was taken from a local constabulary's website. I would assume...if you have done nothing wrong...that the police are unsure of who did what...and want to interview all who were present under caution as they may not be aware of who is guilty of what.
Take legal representation if you feel you may get balmed for something. You are entitled to free legal representation.
A really nasty road accident happened right in front of me once. The police took an initial statement from me at the scene, under caution, and also breathalysed me. It was pretty obvious from the position of the vehicles that i wasn't directly involved, but they briefly explained that it was because of my proximity, and I assumed that it was in case someone later said I had done something that had affected the vehicles that were involved. A few days later I had to go and do a full videoed statement, and that wasn't under caution - presumably because by then they knew I had no involvement.
I'm no expert, but i should think this is similar in that, although you are not under suspicion, they are unclear about exactly who did what therefore have to interview under caution until they know for sure you did nothing wrong. I wouldn't worry, they were very nice to me despite the whole "anything you say..." spiel.
I believe is standard practice - if they thought you were involved they would be more likely to arrest you, then caution you, then interview you.
It is possible that the offence they are investigating is one of affray, where more than one individual may be involved. I order to get witness statements (and cooperation) from bystanders, they need to caution all those giving statements that they don't have to say anything etc etc etc because of the possibility that - were they to later charge more people including some of those who gave statements - that those people could say they were trapped into self-incriminating themselves. If you were just an innocent bystander then there is absolutely no reason why you should not give a statement under caution as far as I know. HTH
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