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Prolonged Police Interview Ruled Inadmissible

HMA v Jake Hawkins 2017

Mr Hawkins has successfully argued that his police interview should not be admissible in evidence in his rape trial at the High Court. This was because the interview which lasted almost one and a half hours, the judge agreed was ‘’prolonged’’ and amounted to “undue pressure”.

The matter was raised as a preliminary issue submitting that there was an objection to the interview being used in evidence. The accused had made it clear to the police officers that we was not going to comment at the start of the interview on any questions and for the most part he stuck to this stance. The police asked him to reconsider the advise given by the solicitor not to comment three different times during the interview. Eventually, the accused gave in with his position and began freely speaking to the officers. The defence counsel argued that from this point these statements made were not obtained fairly as the accused was repeatedly asked to reconsider his position on remaining silent. The Crown argued that the police were simply carrying out their role and persevering with the questions and its clear the accused was cautioned and knew of his rights.

Lady Scott concluded: “I have concluded the repeated and prolonged questioning here, in the face of an exercise of the right to silence combined with repeated suggestions he should re-consider his exercise of that right constituted undue pressure. Here this was taken further and too far, by the statements made to the accused regarding the legal advice he had been given, which statements taken together and in the context of the whole interview clearly undermined that advice…Accordingly I am not satisfied, having regard to all the circumstances, the Crown have established this interview was fair and the statements made can properly be said to have been voluntary. I therefore uphold the objection.” The trial proceeded without the police interview at the High Court and the accused was found not guilty by a jury.

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