Where the police suspect that an individual is involved in crime, and they have reasonable suspicion to form that opinion, it is normal procedure for the suspect to be arrested prior to interview and, where appropriate, charge.
If, however, the initial arrest is a wrongful arrest, then anything that follows is unlikely to lead to a conviction.
Suki Randhawa of Kangs Solicitors explains the relevant statutory and case law.
Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 | Kangs Criminal Law Specialists
Section 28 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (‘PACE’) provides that certain information must be given at the point of arrest:
- Subject to subsection (5) below, where a person is arrested, otherwise than by being informed that he is under arrest, the arrest is not lawful unless the person arrested is informed that he is under arrest as soon as is practicable after his arrest.
- Where a person is arrested by a constable, subsection (1) above applies regardless of whether the fact of the arrest is obvious.
- Subject to subsection (5) below, no arrest is lawful unless the person arrested is informed of the ground for the arrest at the time of, or as soon as is practicable, after the arrest.
- Where a person is arrested by a constable, subsection (3) above applies regardless of whether the ground for the arrest is obvious.
- Nothing in this section is to be taken to require a person to be informed –
- that he is under arrest ; or
- of the ground of that arrest,
if it was not reasonably practicable for him to be so informed by reason of his having escaped from arrest before the information could be given.
Codes of Practice | Kangs Solicitors Crime Advisory Team
Code G of PACE stipulates:
- a person who is arrested, or further arrested, must be informed at the time if practicable, or if not as soon as it becomes practicable thereafter, that they are under arrest and reasons of that arrest.
- a person who is arrested, or further arrested, must be cautioned unless;
- it is impractical to do so by reason of their condition or behaviour at the time;
- they have already been cautioned immediately prior to arrest as in Paragraph 3.1.
The arresting officer is required to record is his pocket book, or by other methods used for recording information:
- the nature and circumstances of the offences leading to the arrest
- the reason, or reasons why the arrest was necessary
- the giving of the caution; and
- anything said by the person at the time of the arrest.
Case Law | Kangs Criminal Case Law Solicitors
Over the years, there has been a great deal of case law in relation to breaches of Section 28 of PACE, the leading case being Christie v Leachinsky (1947) AC 573.
The common law position can be summarised as follows:
‘If a police man arrests without warrant, upon reasonable suspicion of felony, or of other crime of a sort which does not require a warrant, he must in ordinary circumstances inform the person arrested of the true ground of arrest. He is not entitled to keep the reason to himself or to give a reason which is not the true reason. In other words a citizen is entitled to know on what charge or on suspicion of what crime he is seized’
‘If the citizen is not so informed, but is non the less seized, the police man, apart from certain exceptions, is liable for false imprisonment’
‘The requirement that the person arrested should be informed of the reason why he is seized, naturally does not exist if the circumstances are such that he must know the general nature of the alleged offence for which he is detained’
‘The requirement that he should be so informed does not mean that precise language needs to be used. The matter is a matter of substance, and turns on the elementary position that in this country any person is, Prima Facia, entitled to his freedom and is only required to submit to restraints on his freedom if he knows in substance the reason why it is claimed that this restraint should be imposed’
‘The person arrested cannot complain that he has not been supplied with the above information as and when he should be, if he himself produces a situation which makes it practically impossible e.g. by immediate counter attack or by running away. There may well be other exceptions to the general rule in addition to those I have indicated, and the above propositions are not intended to constitute a formal or complete code, but to indicate the general principles of our law on a very important matter’.
The question of whether or not the information given is adequate will be assessed objectively.
How Can Kangs Solicitors Help? | Kangs National Criminal Defence Solicitors
If you have been charged with any offence and feel that the police officer did not provide you with the essential information required at the point of arrest, then it may well be that the officer was not acting in the proper execution of his duty, and a potential defence may exist.
Defending prosecutions of any nature requires extensive and experienced consideration of all elements of the offence, including the arrest and charging procedure, as well as the evidence relied upon by the Prosecution.
Who Should I Contact For Help? | Kangs Criminal Defence Team
Our team offers years of experience to ensure that all steps are taken to critically analyse and evaluate each client’s personal requirements in order to achieve the most favourable result available.
We are here to help, and anyone of the following will be pleased to hear from you: