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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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In a case where a suspect (in detention) is charged and new

Customer Question

In a case where a suspect (in detention) is charged and new witness statements are taken by the investigators after the charge (as a result of further investigation after the charge): does the investigator need to inform the accused of those new elements at early stage? Does the investigator need to caution the accused regarding the new elements? What does the law say? If not, isn't the equality of arms principle contravened?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you.
Is this for an essay? I assume the new information was not yet disclosed to the accused?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hello Alex,

no, this is not for an essay. It concerns a high profile criminal case in Seychelles.

A boat was intercepted at sea with a large volume cannabis on board in December 2012. Initially there were 7 accused (all on board the vessel) including the captain. 2 other suspects (including the boat owner who was not on board) who were not on board were arrested on January 28th 2013 and charged on February 25th 2013. It appears that the investigation continued after the charge (conspiracy charge notably). No request for further investigation was made to the Court. The skipper was released in July 2013 under a conditional agreement signed with the Attorney General (crown witness). Other remained in detention. New statements were taken from other "witnesses" (as from March 2013). Those statements were given to the defense in July 2013 when the captain was released. The trial commenced in October 2014 and is still ongoing.

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
I can advise on law in England and Wales only, if that's ok?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

That is what we need

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Ok, but the statements against to the accused have been disclosed?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

yes they have been disclosed after several months.

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Ok. Then the investigator does not need to tell the suspect of the elements at an early stage. Very often when a suspect is charged, statements are not disclosed until the matter has been set down for trial.
There is an obligation to disclose documents such as statements but that is not required until a trial date and even then the court would order disclosure of used and unused material.
But at the time of the new charge and even when a plea is entered full statements are not necessary. They only need to be disclosed later before trial.
Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
Alex
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Hi
I am just following up to see if there is anything else I can help with?
If you have not done so already might I ask you to rate my answer before you go today please, the button should be at the bottom of the screen.
If you need more help please click reply.
Alex
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Alex, sorry it took me a while to answer but I needed to check with the lawyer and it seems that I should clarify my question further.

1. Investigation in a criminal case starts.

Allegations are put to the accused.

The accuse responds by giving a statement to the allegations.

The investigation continues and thereafter the accused is charged and appears before the Court.

2. But prosecution/police continues with the investigation after the charge. The new evidence is not put to the accused. Statements of the new evidence obtained after the charge are given to the accused.

Questions:

a) Is it proper for the prosecution/police to continue with the investigation after the person has been charged for the offence and after the accused appears before the Court? More so as the same were never put to the accused for rebuttal/explanation

b) Is such evidence admissible in law? And if so please provide which authority (statue or case law) will support the same.

If the new evidence brought after the charge is not put to the accused, then the accused might be “forced” to give evidence in Court under ought to respond and rebut to the new evidence. In that case does it not offend the right to the accused of remaining silent?

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
A) Yes it is. The latest information will need to be disclosed.
B) In the UK it will be the Criminal Procedure Rules and Police and Criminal Evidence Act.
But they MUST disclose any new material. You can't stop an investigation as soon as someone is charged as new material/offences may come to light. But if it comes to trial and new material is discovered an adjournment can be sought.
Does that help?
Alex
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
If this answers your question could I invite you rate my answer before you leave today.
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