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Re(1): For Geoff. The 5th amendment v Britain
IP: 188.29.165.83


William
This matter relates to the American Legal System and the American Bill of Rights. The English Legal System is different as too is the Scottish Legal System. You may have heard on TV programmes English Police Officers utter the ' Police Caution ' to an arrested person, thus...
" You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in Court. Anything you do say may be given be given in evidence ". The person should then be asked "Do you understand? ".
If the person does not understand or the officer doubts their understanding, the caution can be simplified as follows
" I am going to ask you some questions. You do not have to answer any of them unless you want to. But if you go to Court and say something there which you have not told me about, and they think you could have told me, it may harm your case. Anything you do say may be repeated in court."
As you can see an arrested person can remain silent should they wish to do so. Similar to the American way of things so to speak but it's not in a Bill Of Rights.
The English ' caution ' derives from what were known as " Judges Rules " and they have relevance dating back to Magna Carta. The right to remain silent underpins the principle that a person is believed innocent until proved guilty and they cannot be forced to incriminate themselves. It can however become a very complex matter. Rules of evidence in criminal trials are somewhat different. It's not unheard of for witnesses who being found to be in contempt of Court for refusing to answer questions, then find themselves in the cells!
In the American situation you mention the officer is refusing to answer questions during an ongoing ' investigation ' and may not yet have been arrested?
Under the American Bill of Rights a citizen can refuse to answer any questions that may incriminate him / herself. Referred to in common parlance as " Taking the 5th ". The question being asked at the time was does this apply to a police officer and the answer is yes.

Amendment 5

Protection of Rights to Life, Liberty, and Property

No person shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous crime unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.

Hopefully answered your question.
Cheers
Geoff

Judges Rules....now PACE

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