24 November 2021
Should you always accept an offer of a Caution from the police?
The implications of a conviction or other out of court disposal can be far reaching and the ripples of impact can take, in some cases, many years to materialise. It therefore goes without saying that when the police undertake a criminal investigation, the outcome achieved must be fair and just, and in accordance with the legislation, rather than simply an attempt by the authorities to tick a box and move on. It may move on for the authorities but you may be left to pick up the pieces later. Jonathon Moss, principal lawyer in B P Collins’ criminal team explains how you can avoid this.
Impact of accepting a caution
B P Collins has dealt with many cases where individuals have asked us to review an outcome in a case that has had serious repercussions in their lives. The irony is that in most cases, the individual accepted the outcome offered by the police so the case would “disappear”. There are cases where to accept a lower outcome is the right thing to do, but far too often outcomes are offered by the police out of expediency rather than justice.
In one case, an individual accepted a caution for an offence of assault in a domestic setting. That outcome then caused significant problems and we were asked to review the case a number of years later. We obtained the interview disks, reviewed all the evidence and it soon became apparent that the “offer” of a caution to an unrepresented individual was wholly inappropriate. During the police interview under caution, our client had indeed accepted assaulting the complainant and the police focussed on this. They omitted to focus on the need for the assault to be unlawful and during the interview it was stated, “if I had not done so, I would have been badly injured.” The police chose to offer a caution and this was accepted without advice. The rules surrounding a caution clearly state that one should only be offered where a number of factors arise, including the need for full and unconditional admissions. In this case, self-defence had been advanced. This was a clear case where the police acted as judge and jury, and either the police did not understand the rules or chose to place targets above justice. We were asked to unravel the problem.
How can B P Collins help?
Should you be contacted by the police as part of an investigation, B P Collins would urge you to obtain legal advice at the time. We can advise on the law and its implications. We can ensure your rights are advanced and protected and that any decision you make is balanced and informed. It is understandable, when unrepresented, to try and take the path of least resistance, but that could lead to consequences down the line that were not foreseen, understood or envisaged at the time.
In the event that you are facing an investigation into an offence, do contact us for the very best advice and representation.
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