“No Comment”. Can it be used against you?

ByMyDefence Staff

“No Comment”. Can it be used against you?

When you are charged with an offence, the police will normally interview you. Sometimes it can happen without you knowing, such as being caught speeding - an officer will ask why you were speeding.

You may think this is just conversational, but in reality the officer is looking for an admission that makes for a stronger case in prosecuting you in court.

Answering "no comment"

At the same time people often think that by saying "no comment" to the police, it will make them look guilty and can be used against them later. This is in fact not true and police rely on an accused's ignorance in taking advantage of this.

Your right to silence

Accused persons have a right to silence, and providing answers of "no comment" to all questions in an interview is asserting that right. This is founded on the principle that police need to prove the charge against you and you are not obliged to help them do it. Courts are also not allowed to draw an adverse inference from a no comment interview.

So once a police officer starts questioning you, you can make an assumption that it is for a good reason, and that reason is to get a confession.

It is good practice to just say "no comment" to anything they ask you other than what you lawfully must tell them, such as your name and address.

Where police place a person under arrest or have formed a belief that a person has committed an offence, they are obliged to inform you of your rights prior to questioning you.

In these instances, it is always advisable to say "no comment" and seek legal advice immediately after.

MyDefence lawyers are often surprised at how many of our clients have made admissions without knowing that what they said was going to be used against them. In many cases the admission is the only evidence police have against a client.

There is an old saying, it takes one slap to get someone to talk and 10 slaps to shut them up. Police know this technique works in police interviews.

So if you are ever interacting with the police because they are charging you with an offence, to be safe, it always advisable to say "no comment".


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About the author

MyDefence Staff editor