Whether you're a repeat offender or being accused of a first offence, being arrested can be an incredibly stressful and distressing situation. Though most police officers in Australia adhere to a strict code of conduct, there are some instances where intimidation tactics may be employed in order to seek a confession in an interview. Here's what you need to know about police intimidation, how to avoid it and what you can do if you believe you have been subject to this form of misconduct.
What is police intimidation?
If you have been accused of a crime, part of the investigation process will often involve an interview or questioning from police. For arrests made in Queensland, police officers have no legal obligation to advise you of your rights, including the right to remain silent, unless you're a suspect of a serious offence, such as assault, robbery or murder. Police officers are generally bound to, and must comply with actions under the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000 (Qld). However, in some circumstances, police officers may attempt to pressure you into a false confession through an interview setting. This can be considered intimidation, which involves using coercion or force to convince a party to act in a certain way.
How can I avoid police intimidation?
It's important to remember that if an interview is electronically recorded, this audio may be used as evidence in court. Any decision to partake in a recorded interview should be discussed with your expert criminal lawyer in order to determine whether this is the best plan of action. Having your lawyer present with you during police interactions and questioning ensures that your rights are protected and can assist you in making any self-incriminating statements.
What is considered police misconduct?
Under the Crime and Corruption Act 2001 (Qld), police misconduct is considered as the following:
- Behaviour that is improper, disgraceful or unbecoming of a police officer.
- Actions that demonstrate that a police officer is unfit to continue their duties or service.
- Conduct that is not to the standard of care that is expected.
If you believe that police misconduct has taken place at any time of your arrest, it's important to reach out to your criminal lawyer to help you with your complaint. Furthermore, if injuries have been sustained as the result of excessive force, such as tight handcuffs or from being unlawfully tasered, taking pictures of the lacerations can serve as evidence. You'll need to distinguish, however, whether the perceived misconduct was a minor offence and would likely not merit a misconduct complaint. An example of a minor breach of police conduct include an officer being rude or snappy, or taking a long time to respond to queries.
Other actions, including using unnecessary physical force or coercion can be considered as police misconduct, and are grounds for complaint. These complaints can be made to the Crime and Corruption Commission of Queensland (CCC), a government organisation that investigates systemic corruption within a variety of agencies of the public sector, including:
- The Queensland Police Service.
- Local governments.
- Courts and tribunals.
After investigating a complaint of police intimidation, the Crime and Corruption Commission will then determine the legitimacy of the claim, and if misconduct is found, instigate disciplinary action. If you make a complaint and it is found to be based on lies or forged, you may be charged under the Crime and Corruption Act 2001 (Qld).
As Brisbane's leading firm with over 30 years' experience in the world of criminal law, the team at Russo Lawyers are committed to helping you seek the most favourable outcome for your case. With successful appearances in all jurisdictions ranging from the Queensland Supreme Court, to the Magistrates Court at Roma Street, we know the ins-and-outs of criminal law, no matter how complex the case may seem. For help throughout the legal process, get in touch with our expert professionals at Russo Lawyers for a free initial phone consultation.