Recently, the High Court handed down a ruling in favour of Roseanne Beckett, a woman who had been wrongfully arrested, convicted and imprisoned for 10 years for the alleged attempted murder of her husband. After protesting her innocence for 26 years, Ms Beckett was awarded $2.3 million in damages to be paid by the state of NSW for ‘malicious prosecution’. In fact, she had been framed by a dodgy detective with a vendetta against her family. Although this is an extreme case, it begs the question: do you know your rights when you are arrested?
The police can arrest you if:
- you are committing an offence or
- they have reasonable grounds to suspect you have committed an offence
- you are breaching the peace
- you have breached any bail conditions you may have
- a warrant has been issued for your arrest or
- you are to be served with an Apprehended Violence Order.
However, the police officer arresting you should:
(1) tell you that you are under arrest
(2) give you reasons why you are being arrested and
(3) tell you his or her name and place of duty.
In 2014, the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 was amended so that if a police officer does not provide you with their name and place of duty their arrest will still be lawful, however if you ask a police officer for the information and they do not provide it, your arrest will not be lawful.
Once at the police station, the Police will inform you of your rights, and this includes your right to have a solicitor or other person present. Generally, when being questioned you have a right to silence, although in most circumstances you will need to provide your name and address and in some circumstances proof of age or, in the case of traffic offences, your driver’s licence. Aside from this, however, you are not obliged to answer any questions. If you are unsure, your best option is to request that the police wait to question you until you can seek legal advice.
At Everingham Solomons Solicitors we have the expertise and experience to assist you because Helping You is Our Business.
Click here for more information on Mark Grady.