The most important thing to remember is that in Canada, your right to remain silent is guaranteed by Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Other than providing the police with your name and address, you don’t have to say anything to them.
The police may tell you they want to interview you in order to rule you out of their investigation. Remember that if you haven’t been arrested, you already are ruled out. In interviewing you, the police could gather information that makes you a suspect, or provides them with the grounds to arrest you.
The best way to refuse to give a statement is to politely say, “I do not want to give a statement or answer any questions” and nothing else. It’s best not to apologize, explain, or elaborate. Everything you say to the police is being recorded and can be used against you as evidence in court. This could be very detrimental to your case if the police do eventually lay charges against you.
The very first thing you should do when the police ask to speak to you is find legal counsel. Remember, the police aren’t necessarily acting in your best interest. Speaking with a lawyer before speaking to the police is the best way to protect yourself and ensure your interests are protected.
In rare circumstances, it may be wise to give a statement to the police. Every situation is different. If you are unsure about making a statement to police and you would like the advice of an experienced criminal lawyer, give us a call.
Ron Ellis is a criminal defence lawyer based in London, Ontario and practices criminal defence law all over Southwestern Ontario, including Grand Bend, Sarnia, Woodstock and Kitchener.