Any person, who knew me of old, would know that I was not the person to hold back on commenting. I would sit back, wait for my moment and then with my dulcet tones would release profound and succinct information into any discussion.
The gravitas of being arrested lead to a much quieter me. On arrest, you are told: "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 in evidence."
According to the 'Lawteacher' website, this does pose many questions about the whole process of interrogation and of the release of information. It's a process that does not cultivate trust between any innocent person and the Police.
'Tortures and forced confessions in interrogating suspects were well known to happen in most nations. Public authorities, such as the police had used this kind of method of interrogation in investigating suspects and forcing the suspects to expose the evidence and information which are vital to them. It is well known that any uncontrolled power or prerogatives would lead to abuse and this is true with some powers which are exercised by the public authorities. In accordance to this, the right to silence or the right to remain silent emerged to protect the rights of suspects. Since the existence of the right to silence, suspects acquired the right to remain silent in interrogation and in trial. Exposure of information is up to the defendant, he may or may not say anything during trial. Unfortunately, this right is countered by Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 (CJPOA). To what extent CJPOA has reduced the right to silence? What is actually the right to silence? Does this right still used by defendants and how much the defendant knows about it? What are the effects of using this right in United Kingdom (UK)? In order to answer all these questions, the history of the right to silence should be studied and the current position of this right in the common law of UK is up to be analysed.'
Where a prosecution is sought a court may later ask for explanations for remaining silent, but not necessarily will the Court draw an adverse inference, and they are assessed on a case by case basis.
However, the Police and the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) can and do withhold information from the defending solicitor, sometimes to the last minutes of a trial, which may result in the solicitor being unable to give appropriate advice to the defendant. This is an affront to justice, as it is frowned upon with any defendant withholding information, however, it has become accepted practice that the Police service can withhold vital information only to drive forward a melicious prosecution. One of the most notorious cases was with Liam Allan, a student, who was accused of multiple rape. Having gone through extensive character destroying proceedings for rape, the CPS (at the eleven hour) released the phone text messages of the complainent to Liam's solicitor. These revealed that far from it being a matter of 'Rape', it was consesual sex and in one message the accuser texted about 'violent sex' and wanting to be 'raped'. The case fell apart, seeing the public humiliation of the CPS and revealed the lengths they would go to in persuing a prosecution, rather than justice.
Advantages of Answering ‘No Comment’
The clear advantage of not answering police questions during an interview is that a suspect would not add strength to the prosecution case, which in certain circumstances may leave the prosecution with insufficient evidence to charge a suspect with a criminal offence. However, taking this course of action may result in an adverse inference and may weaken a defence if the matter progresses to trial. Part of an adverse inference, of making 'No Comment' answers, and not revealing 'all' is an assumption that you have things to hide and are being awkward.
Some may describe the actions of an accused person, when answering "No Comment" to be truculent and a delaying action in their response. In my case, it was purely a matter of not being able to comment on non existent evidence, additionally, most of the questions I was asked about related to programmes that I did not have on my computer system. My own intelligence, and a reliance on the advice of the duty solicitor told me 'with the complete lack of evidence' (against me), I was to answer "No Comment" with most questions.