We understand that being arrested can be a confusing and stressful experience. Our team of Criminal lawyers can assist you from the very outset, from being present to advise you in a Police interview, right through to explaining the process from arrest to Court.
Our team of experienced Criminal Lawyers will ensure you are kept informed each step of the way
It is a general principle that you do not have to answer police questions, you can always ask to speak to a lawyer first. However, under s11 of the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act a police officer may ask for your address if they believe that it can reasonably assist in the investigation of an alleged offence and it is an offence to refuse to supply such information (s12). Police can also demand proof of identification under s19 of the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act.
Under S9 of the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act the arresting officer must have reasonable grounds to believe that you have or are in the act of committing an offence. Once arrested or in lawful custody you may be searched (s23 and s24 of the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act).
Once under arrest you can be detained by police for the 'investigation period' which is a 'reasonable time', but no more than 4 hours unless extended by an investigation warrant. Time may be excluded from this person for such things as transporting you to the nearest police facility or waiting for a tape recorder to become available to record interviews. You must also be brought to justice before a magistrate within the arresting period or released from custody.
If a police interview takes place the information you provide is able to be used in Court against you. Often police questioning takes place in circumstances of high anxiety, stress and emotion and you should not take part in such questioning without firstly discussing this process with a lawyer or having a lawyer present with you. Children should not be questioned by police without a ‘support person’ present who is not a police officer.
There are a number of factors which can impact upon whether your case would be heard before a jury or by a Judge sitting alone. Your case would need to be conducted differently before a jury than before a judge alone.
Our team of lawyers are experienced in both Jury and Judge trials, and understand the difference in appearing before a Judge only, where complex legal argument may be the key to victory, and appearing before a Jury, where the perception of what happened is often the most important aspect of a trial.
Criminal Offences in NSW
Criminal proceedings in the Supreme Court or the District Court are usually heard before a jury, being 12 independent jurors randomly selected to be empanelled as part of the jury. If for any reason either the defence or the prosecution believes that someone on the jury will not be completely independent then they can be challenged and dismissed from the jury. Each party has a limit of 3 challenges for a 12 member jury. Challenges can only be made before the juror is sworn in.
When there are twelve jurors and eleven of them are in agreement a majority verdict can be given. However under the act there must be at least eleven jurors for there to be a majority verdict and there must have also been the passing of a reasonable amount of time ( 8 hours) for there to be a chance at a majority verdict.
A person can elect to forfeit their right to a trial by jury and elect to have a stand alone judge in certain circumstances. The Department of Public Prosecutions usually has to consent to this.