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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

CRM Data Analyst – Part time – Permanent – Surrey – Circa £28,000 pro rata

£15000 - £16800 Per Annum Plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

Mechanical Design Engineer

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A key client in the East Midlands are re...

Year 5/6 Teacher

£21000 - £31000 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: The JobWe are looking ...

Teacher

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: The Job...Due to continued ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

The daily catch-up: fathers looking after children, World Cup questions and Nostradamus

John Rentoul
 

Letter from the Political Editor: Phone and data laws to be passed in haste

Andrew Grice
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice