Record of Interview
If police are investigating an indictable offence (e.g., Theft, Robbery, Trafficking, Fraud or Assault charges), you will be asked to participate in a Record of Interview.
The Record of Interview: Allegations and questioning of a suspected person
Many people are asked to attend a police station to be interviewed about criminal allegations. While you are generally not arrested you are recognised as having being “taken into custody” by the interviewing official (usually a police officer).
At the conclusion of an interview you may be released without charge pending a summons, or bailed to attend for a court hearing at a fixed date. In some cases your answer may be sufficient to explain your position and will result in no charges being laid. Under the Crimes Act (Vic), police are required to read to you and, if necessary, explain your rights before any questioning takes place.
Your rights: what you need to know
An interpreter must be provided if you request one or if English is your second language and your understanding of it is limited.
If you are under 18 then a parent, guardian or independent adult must be present for the interview. If you have a cognitive or mental disability an independent third person must be present in the interview with you.
You must provide your name and address at the interview.
The law allows you to refuse to answer any other questions as you have a right to maintain silence.
Generally, in such circumstances you should answer all questions with the words, “On legal advice I decline to answer” or “No comment”.
You will be given the opportunity to contact a lawyer. It is important to obtain legal advice before you commence an interview.
Police procedures: what you need to know
Police must inform you in sufficient detail about the allegations made, and provide information as to the circumstances of the alleged incident. They do not, however, have to disclose all information nor be specific as to what actual offence you may have committed.
It is not unusual for the investigating officials to have made significant enquiries, and obtained witness statements and forensic evidence before questioning you. This may not be disclosed fully to you during questioning.
If you answer questions put to you in a Record of Interview then your answers may be used in court as evidence. This may be to your disadvantage.
Be prepared: contact a lawyer early
In many cases, it is important to consider the best way to approach a request to be interviewed. It is important to discuss this with a lawyer and make an informed decision about how to approach a police interview. This can be particularly important in Sex Offences, as well as in serious traffic cases such as Culpable Driving.
If you intend to make admissions in a police interview it is still important that you seek advice before the interview.
Preparing well and giving careful consideration to the best response to a police request for interview may well make a real difference to your ability to defend any allegations, if charges are laid.
If you have been interviewed, a copy of the interview will be provided to you. You should see a lawyer as soon as possible to prepare you case.
Slades and Parsons: criminal defence experts
Slades and Parsons Solicitors are experienced in criminal matters and can provide sound and sensible advice as to how you should approach police interviews. If you have been arrested and are about to be interviewed, we are available to provide advice through our after-hours service