Every person in New South Wales has the right to not incriminate themselves to an offence. When a police officer believes that he or she has formed an opinion that you may be guilty of an offence they are required to caution you. The caution in New South Wales is to say “You do not have to say anything if you do not want to however anything you do say or do can be used against you in a court of law. Do you understand that?”. If the person replies in the affirmative, then the caution is effectively given and the police officer can use anything that you say or do from that moment on.
There are two obvious exceptions to this when talking to police. The first is when you are driving a motor vehicle on a public road, the driver of the motor vehicle has an obligation to provide their name and potentially the names of the other people in the car. Secondly if you are charged with a serious criminal offence an inference can be drawn against you if you receive a special caution in the presence of a lawyer and participate in an interview and fail to answer or provide answers in court which you previously did not disclose.
My advice is always to not speak with the police, and to decline to answer questions. This is equally important if you are genuinely innocent of the allegations. The police will try and get the suspect to provide a version of events which, even if accurately told can provide problems at court later if information is omitted or wrong. Whenever you are in a position where you have to speak to the police about a matter as a suspect I would strongly advise you to be accompanied by a lawyer.
Speaking to the police puts the suspect at a great disadvantage. No negative inference can be drawn from a person who refuses to say anything when they are a suspect in a court of law. No one ever talks their way out of being charged. Keep in mind that police are often very well trained and often have information that they will withhold from the suspect only to challenge them with it later. It was very rare as a prosecutor that I ever saw a transcript of an interview that did not assist the prosecution.
Criminal Defence Lawyer