Every lawyer knows of the right to silence.
In nearly all circumstances, we know enough to advise clients not to make any statements to police upon arrest or detention. However, is this enough? Is a quick caution about having rights and choices enough to impress upon a client the importance of the right?
The answer is no.
In minor affairs, it may not matter much. With a simple theft or drug possession charge, the police may have little motivation to approach the accused with sophisticated interrogative techniques. However, in instances of homicide, sexual assault, domestic violence, robberies, and other serious criminal matters, your clients must be adequately equipped to maintain their right to silence should they choose to exercise it.
This article and checklist below attempts to provide the framework for Canadian lawyers to ensure a client who calls under arrest fully appreciates the law and consequences providing a statement to police.