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Should I Speak To The Police (Right To Remain Silent)?

Video Transcript

I’m glad you could join me today. I want to talk to you about a very interesting topic and that’s the right to remain silent. A lot of clients will come to me and say “Mike, in a situation where I’ve been accused of something and I’m innocent. What should I do? Shouldn’t I talk to the police and get them my version of events?” Well, the very simple answer to that is no. This is a very important right in Canada and I’m gonna give you an example. You’re charged with, I know, let’s say you’re charged with domestic assault and you maintain your innocence. You say that your spouse – your husband, your wife – is making the story up as a revenge motive or some motive to lie and truthfully it’s not just reasonable doubt but you know you’re innocent. People in that situation, they really feel compelled when they’re brought in to police custody and the police give them a chance to tell their story and they say, well, I got to tell my story now, isn’t this the time to tell my story? Again, the answer is no. What happens is yes, you’re telling the truth on the video but the problem is you don’t have the police reports, you don’t have the disclosure. The police aren’t your friends. They’re not there to help you and they’re not gonna change their mind based on your version of events. The other problem is you’re gonna tell your story under a situation of stress. You’re never gonna be able to get the whole story out truthfully, accurately. I should say the same way every time so, for example, on day one when you meet with the police there’s a videotape of it, you tell a ten minute version of events. Once you see that video, you go, “Geez, I forgot to say this, I forgot to say that. That’s inconsistent. I was under stress. I didn’t have the full version of events.” It’s a disaster waiting to happen when especially for an innocent person, truthfully innocent person will talk to the police and give a statement. Exercise your right to remain silent under Section Seven. The police have techniques. They can break your story down even when you are innocent and you don’t wanna go down that path. They’re not your friends. They’ll pretend you’re their friend. They’ll play good cop and bad cop. They have all sorts of techniques and you want avoid that. You want, in that interview you want to say, “Look I am exercising my right to keep silent”. I am saying nothing and you keep repeating that until they give up. They may not give up for a couple of hours especially in an important case. They may say, “Well, that’s what all lawyers say. Now is your opportunity to give your version of events”. Look, this is not the school yard or you’ve been confronted by someone, you know, in that situation where someone’s accusing you of doing something, say in the schoolyard when your kid or your parent and you know you’re innocent if you don’t say something, you look guilty. That’s not the situation in law. A judge never gets to hear that videotape. Right to remain silent section seven, it’s something that a lot of people don’t understand and they just won’t accept the advice even when the lawyers tells them this they still feel compelled to testify and I’m gonna say about fifty percent of people even when they’re told by a lawyer not to say anything break down in that interview. Put your head down in the interview say nothing, ask for a lawyer. You’re entitled to a lawyer. They’ll give you a lawyer. The lawyer’s gonna tell you the same thing that I am: don’t talk, don’t talk, don’t talk. Fifty percent of you are gonna talk because it’s just human nature. ‘I got to express my innocence.’ If someone’s guilty; they shouldn’t talk either because maybe they don’t have evidence to prove your guilt. You don’t have to prove your guilt. You’re not compelled to, you know, give evidence against yourself so just shut up. Exercise your right from silence and exercise your right to call lawyer to get the advice you’re hearing again from another lawyer. Fifty percent of you aren’t gonna believe me, fifty percent of you are gonna talk and it’s the wrong thing to do. Believe me. That’s the video tip for the day. Thank you for joining me today.

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