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SH2460

Suspect Interview?

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Hi all,

just a quick discussion regarding suspect interviewing.

can a witness statement be read to the suspect in an interview providing none of the personal information is disclosed?

thanks all 👍🏼

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As far as I am aware, there is nothing to say you cannot read it out. For your bog standard interviews I would steer clear of reading it all out word for word as you do not want them to know the details of what evidence you have. Personally, if there are no admissions once i have asked all my initial questions I will briefly summarise what the statement says and MAY choose to read out certain key parts which I feel may challenge their account or, if it has been a 'no comment' interview, provoke them into talking.

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Absolutely you can. Statements are disclosed to the defense if the matter goes to court as well. It is completely down to you how much you choose to disclose or use during interview and sometimes it is about finding a balance. Sometimes you might even discuss elements of victim/witness statements during pre-interview disclosure if you feel it to be appropriate. 

I have also used the strategy of challenging suspects on parts of the victim or witnesses statement, only for them to call the victim / witness a liar. This of course opens up the possibility of introducing bad character evidence to your interview and opens up a can of worms sometimes that I have seen defense solicitors caught out by.

You should NEVER disclose personal information relating to addresses etc however in interviews for obvious reasons. The name of the victim or witness can be mentioned and once again is disclosed to the defense if the matter is heard at court.

A person cannot defend themselves against an allegation if they do not know what the allegation and as such under CPIA it is a requirement for all evidence to be disclosed eventually unless there is compelling reasons to withhold it.

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If it’s a no comment interview it’s good practice to read statements to offenders and then aske them if they want to make a comment. Also, if it’s a burglary you’ll have disclose personal info such as and address and victims name.

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