Not in the UK they don’t.
What am I writing about? Terminology and phraseology.
When a suspect is being arrested in the UK, phrases such as “book him,” “read him his rights” and “Miranda him” are not used. When being arrested, a suspect in the UK is told they are being arrested and Cautioned. They can also be cautioned at the time that questions are being asked about their suspected involvement in a crime but before being arrested also before an official police interview after being arrested and having been taken to a police station.
The wording of the Caution goes like this:
“You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention, when questioned, something which you rely on in court. Anything you do say can be given in evidence.”
The police don’t have to use these exact words but they must tell the suspect all the information in it and if the suspect doesn’t understand what has been said the police should explain what is meant.
“You’re nicked” on its own is insufficient as there is no warning of the consequences of making a verbal comment at the time of arrest and as such any damming statement made by the suspect becomes inadmissible in court.
This means that if after being told he was nicked, the suspect replied “its a fair cop, I did it” but there was no corroborating evidence to support this admission, the statement couldn’t be used against him as he hadn’t been told before hand that that statement could be used against him.
There is no requirement for a suspect to say anything at all to the police upon being Cautioned. It is perfectly legal for them to just look into space or use that famous phrase: ‘No comment.’
However if they say nothing but later in court offer an answer to the question, the court may hold it against them and wonder why such an explanation wasn’t offered in the first place. The court can draw an “adverse inference” from the original silence or refusal to answer the questions asked by the police.
For example if after being arrested for an assault and upon being cautioned, the suspect remains silent but at court they claim that they acted in self-defence, the court is well within its rights to ask why this defence wasn’t offered in the first place and thereby believe such a claim to be false.
So will you read your suspect their rights or Caution them?
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