17 December 2010

Right of Any Person To Legal Counsel (Part 1)

In an earlier posting back in 2009, and an update posting this year; we had discussed about the rights of the arrested person to call upon Legal Counsel to advise the person. That is Section 28A of the Criminal Procedure Code.

We find a lacuna in Malaysian Laws on this area, specifically; the Law made no specific reference to the rights of a person called upon by the Police (or other relevant authorities) to assist in the criminal investigation.

If you are called by the Police (for example) to assist in an on-going investigation, can you call a lawyer along? Logic would dictate; Yes. But there is no specific provision similar to that in Section 28A CPC.

Today, we start a series of review of Laws from other Jurisdictions on how that Country
defines the right of the volunteer person.

United Kingdom

In UK, the rights of a person assisting in a Police questioning or investigation is contained in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 [PACE 1984]. We refer herein to Code C of PACE 1984, which is also known as Code of Practice for the Detention, Treatment and Questioning of Persons by Police Officers, whereby it is stated in Note 1A Code C of PACE 1984 that:-

“Although certain sections in this Code apply specifically to people in custody at police stations, those there voluntarily to assist with an investigation should be treated with no less consideration, e.g. offered refreshments at appropriate times, and enjoy an absolute right to obtain legal advice or communicate with anyone outside the police station.”

From the same, we are able to deduce that the police officer is required to respect the person who comes to police station with the intention to give information of the investigation, whether that person an accused, witness or even an volunteer informant. As such, any person is to be given access to legal advice or communication with any other person outside the police station.

This was followed in the case of Brooks v. Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2005] UKHL 24 which was decided by the House of Lords of United Kingdom (now known as the Supreme Court) on 21st April 2005. Lord Steyn; wherein he had held that “whilst focusing on investigating crime, and the arrest of suspects, police officers would in practice be required to ensure that in every contact with a potential witness or a potential victim time and resources were deployed to avoid the risk of causing harm or offence”.

Lord Rodger in the same case also held that “as a matter of professional ethics, officers can be expected to treat witness with appropriate courtesy and consideration, and may be open to disciplinary proceedings if they do not.”

05 December 2010

Bar Council 2011 election

Our Richard Wee was elected to Bar council, in the recent Bar Council 2011 election. We thank our friends for the support.

1Hendon Mohamed1803
2Haji Sulaiman Abdullah1783
3Christopher Leong1381
4George Varughese1365
5Datuk Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari1324
6Andrew Khoo Chin Hock1265
7Low Beng Choo1237
8Steven Thiru1225
9Dato' Yasmeen Shariff1196
10Syamsuriatina bt Ishak (Tina)1087
11Richard Wee Thiam Seng1052
12Anand Ponnudurai1042