Dawn McKnight, partner at Lawtons solicitors, was instructed to represent a client accused of serious sexual allegations in a domestic context. The client had been invited to attend a voluntary interview with Northamptonshire Police and offered free and independent advice under the pPolice station legal aid scheme.
The client approached Lawtons having done some research into experts in this area of law – as he wanted to receive expert pre-attendance advice and representation in his police interview. Having had all of his options explained to him, the client decided to instruct Lawtons on a private paying basis.
By instructing us on a private client basis, the client was able to have a lengthy consultation with Dawn in advance of the interview. During the consultation, the client advised that he wholly denied the allegations against him, which were very specific and spanned a period of time. Whilst it was decided that the client should give a full account denying the allegations, it was clear that he was not comfortable with speaking during a police interview as he would find it hard to articulate himself in such a stressful situation. Also, he did not want to say anything that may be construed as an admission or be damaging to his defence.
So for the client’s benefit, it was agreed that Dawn would personally attend the interview in Wellingborough Police Station with him.
Ahead of the interview, a lengthy pre-prepared statement was drafted and was submitted at the start of the interview. The client then proceeded to exercise his right to silence.
Adopting a “no comment approach to an” interview can, in certain circumstances, lead to an adverse inference being drawn if the matter proceeds to court. However, in this case, the level of detail in the pre-prepared statement would have negated any inference should the matter have proceeded to court.
Based on the statement and representations made by Dawn to the officer, it was decided that no further action would be taken by the Police and the matter was officially filed, bringing the case to a satisfactory conclusion for our client.