Letter: Importance of the right to silence

Share
Related Topics
Sir: As a retired and pensioned police inspector, I found Sir Peter Imbert's comments on the right of silence to be nave ('Imbert urges end to court combat', 14 October). Albert Camus said:

The innocent is the person who explains nothing.

Sir Peter does not appear to accept that sentiment, though he should be aware of the truth in it.

Policemen exercise a right to silence when they are being investigated regarding criminal and disciplinary matters. I applaud them doing so, but I find it hypocritical when on other occasions they point the finger at others who exercise the same right.

Occasionally, I have been asked what I would do if I were accused and innocent. Without any apologies, I answer that I would remain silent for fear that my defence might be sabotaged. This is the very reason policemen exercise the right. There have been many reported cases to show that they, like me, know that sadly there are a minority of policemen who, when making investigations, are not averse to do what is colloquially known as 'fitting up', 'setting up', 'planting' or 'swinging' the evidence.

A demonstration took place in Grosvenor Square, central London, about 1960. Some youths were walking near the periphery and had no part nor interest in the incident. This did not prevent them from being arrested for possessing offensive weapons.

One youth was alleged to have had a half house brick in his pocket. Subsequently it was shown that there were no signs of brick dust in the pocket (a brick continually releases brick dust). The youth had remained silent on this point, not by design but through ignorance, and the question arises: if he had not remained silent on this point, would further evidence have been planted to show that the brick had been in the pocket? The CID officers were eventually imprisoned for perversion of justice.

It ill becomes Sir Peter to imply that silence is synonymous with guilt.

He will be doing justice a service by explaining to the public that his main concern in this field is to instil discipline to prevent malpractices. He should recognise that to deprive people, often innocent, of a safeguard enshrined in the Judges' Rules, will make it easier for those so minded to manipulate evidence to sabotage a proper defence.

Yours faithfully,

JOHN THOMPSON

Newport,

Gwent

14 October

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Lawyer - Cheshire

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CHESHIRE MARKET TOWN - An exciting and rare o...

Austen Lloyd: Residential Property Solicitor - Hampshire

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE - SENIOR POSITION - An exciti...

Recruitment Genius: Gas Installation Engineer

£29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Engineer is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor

£28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor is req...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Michael Brown was shot and killed by police in August  

Ferguson: The sad truth is that Michael Brown was killed because he was a black man

Bonnie Greer
A protestor poses for a  

Ferguson verdict: This isn't a 'tragedy'. This is part of a long-running genocide of black men in America

Otamere Guobadia
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital
In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran