Law, Police Powers

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Describe the rights during detention at a police station of an individual suspected of a serious offence. 18marks

In 1984 the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) contains police powers. Inside PACE there are codes of practice found in Section 66.

One of the rights/safeguards is the criminal justice and public order act of 1994; this rule has been arranged and now on adverse inference can be drawn if the defendant remains silent. Another right is suspects have the right to make a phone call and have legal advice, under normal circumstances this is granted. However sometimes this might be postponed for up to 36hours because police believe that it would hinder the investigation, property could be disposed of. If not allowed after 36hours as in R v Samual any evidence gained is inadmissible.

In addition the defendant has the right to an appropriate adult present during, if the detainee is a juvenile, mentally ill, foreign or has impaired hearing. In R v Aspinall the court of appeal ruled that a schizophrenic defendant should have an appropriate adult present when being questioned even though the suspect appeared to understand the questions, the evidence was deemed inadmissible. However, an interview can begin without a solicitor or an appropriate adult if an officer of the rank of superintendent considers that delay will involve harm to persons or serious loss or damage to property.

The defendant also has the right to silence as contained in the caution. The caution should be repeated before the interview begins. The caution must be repeated every time there is a break in questioning. This has been changed by the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. It provides that inferences may be drawn from the fact that a defendant has refused to answer police questions.

Suspects also have the right to suitable conditions. There should only be one person in each cell, but only ‘so far as is practicable’. Police cells must be adequately heated,...
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