STREET LAW SERIES
WITH DANIEL KIP, ESQ.
ATTENDING POLICE INTERVIEW
1. QUESTION(QST): Is it lawful for the Police to invite me?
ANSWER(ANS): Yes. You could be invited as a witness or as a suspect for fact finding purposes/investigations.
2. QST: Can I answer to police invitation through a phone call?
ANS: Yes. You can also answer through a letter or through your lawyer.
3. QST: Are there instances when I must go by myself?
ANS: Yes, especially when the offence you are accused of is not a minor offence.
4. QST: During Police interview, as a suspect, is it lawful for me to be beaten, threatened, cajoled, coerced or promised anything to make me say what I would not have loved to say?
5. QST: Where I do not understand the language used by the Police, am I entitled to an interpreter?
ANS: Yes. The services of such interpreter should be offered you free of charge.
6. QST: When I want to confess to an offence, is it lawful for the police to record me electronically despite that I have put my confession in writing?
7. QST: During Police interview, can someone else write for me if I am disabled or I cannot write in English?
ANS: Yes. Such person must record you accurately and you should request that the person reads to your understanding that which he or she recorded. After you have confirmed that the person wrote exactly what you said or what you intended to be written, then you can sign the statement.
8. QST: Can my lawyer be present during Police interview?
ANS: Yes. If you do not have a Lawyer of your own, request that a lawyer be assigned to you from the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria. But do not expect Lawyer to interfere while you are making your statement.
9. QST: Must I say something or answer all the questions asked me at the Police Station?
ANS: No. You have the right to remain silent. You may decide not to say anything until you have consulted or spoken with a lawyer of your choice. Notably, if it has to do with a criminal allegation and you were not present at the scene of the crime (when the crime was committed), you are advised to immediately tell the police where you were, the persons who were with you and what you were doing as at that time the crime was said to have been committed.
10. QST: I have been arrested for days now; I have not been charged to Court. They won’t let me speak with my lawyer. I have not even been told why I was arrested. They would not even let me eat food. Is it Lawful?
ANS: No. You should be made to know and understand the reason for your arrest within 24 hours of your arrest. You should be allowed to speak with your lawyer or anybody of your choice. This is to enable you adequate time and facilities to defend yourself. If there is a court within a radius of 40 kilometers, you should not be detained beyond 24 hours without being taken to court. Although, where the Court is far from the place of your detention, it may be reasonable to detain you for some more days. You should be allowed to eat; you have the right to stay alive.
11. QST: The police came to invite/arrest me, I did not resist arrest and it is not reasonable (from the circumstances) to think that I would want to escape; yet, I was handcuffed and dragged into their van. Is that lawful?
ANS: No, such treatment disrespects and degrades the dignity of your human person. See our Arrest Episode for more information on arrests.
12. QST: If I refuse to honour police invitation, can I be forcefully arrested?
13. QST: I have been arrested. I have not been taken to Court. Can I be bailed?
ANS: Yes, especially when it is a bailable offence.
This Series is brought to you by the NYSC LEGAL AID CDS Group, CALABAR.
It’s sponsored by Daniel Kip, Esq. You may Contact the NYSC Legal Aid CDS Group through Austin-Vicker @+2348130459235