Many people when they are arrested or detained are asked to provide a statement by the police. In Canada, you are not obligated to give a statement. A statement can only be used in evidence against you if it is being given freely and voluntarily, in other words, without any promise or threat, and not given under such oppressive conditions that you are not able to make an informed decision whether to provide a statement or not.
There are some who think that you should never give a statement to the police. Often that is correct. Each case turns on its own particular set of facts. There are circumstances where providing a statement at the outset can be beneficial in avoiding a charge in the first place or defending the charge down the road. The key is to get some legal advice so that you can make an informed decision as to whether you should provide a statement or not.
If you are asked to provide a statement I suggest that you respond that you will not do so until you have obtained legal advice. If you call one of our lawyers we would review with you the facts and circumstances and the reason why you are being asked for a statement. We will discuss the pros and cons of providing a statement. The objective is to allow you to make an informed choice as to whether you want to provide the statement or not. If you are going to provide a statement we will then explain to you some of the pitfalls that you can run into in giving a statement. This advice is similar to the advice you would receive if you were going to testify at a trial.
In my view, it is wrong to categorically state across the board that you should never provide a warned statement to the police. However, my advice is that you should never provide a statement without first speaking to legal counsel.
Do not hesitate to call one of our Defence Group lawyers and/or one of our on-call numbers:
Regina: (306) 565-5128
Saskatoon: (306) 665-5412
AARON A. FOX, Q.C.
McDougall Gauley Defence Group
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