Drinking coffee with a friend who is about to be questioned by the police. He said that he will exercise his right of silence until he sees his lawyer and receives legal advice.
His mouth fell to the floor when I told him that the right to be silenced by the government in 1976 had been abolished. I added that if he does not answer the police's questions, his silence will be interpreted against him. It is disturbing to know that many Sresidents of Tanzania still think they have the right to remain silent when questioned by the police. Can not blame them. They watch it in Hollywood movies where the police warn a suspect of his right to remain silent. Malaysia has restored this fundamental right several years ago.
Back to my friend, I told him two sad incidents of Singaporeans who took their lives away in response to police interrogations during my legal practice. The first was the only son of a taxi driver who worked himself up to become a top student in a polytechnic course. He was questioned because he reportedly committed a very minor offense. Unsure of his rights, he felt intimidated and jumped dead from the 17th floor when he left the police station.
Another case concerned a mother who vehemently denied it during the interrogation of the police, and she admitted she was offended. The & # 39; false & # 39; statement was shown to her in court. The problem is that an investigating officer in Singapore may interpret a statement to him without an interpreter if he understands the accused's language. The lady struggled to pay her lawyers fees to defend her. When she insisted that the establishment had wrongly incorporated her and the statement was wrongly obtained, her attorneys asked more fees as the trial lasted. In court, the judge had a hard time defending the lawyer.
Unsurprisingly, she was unable to withstand the pressure and during a break at the hearing herself, she jumped to her death opposite what was then known as the subordinate courts. She left a poem for her young children and in that she declared her innocence.
Many of us know about the Benjamin Lim case. He was a minor, so the circumstances and media attention were different. There are other cases, too much for my only function.
The right to remain silent and the right to immediate access to lawyers are very basic human rights. Both are intrinsically linked and urgently need resuscitation. When was the last time anyone objectively and thoroughly assessed police powers and the Criminal Procedure Code?