Provide details about membership costs. Adice is sought regarding an alleged criminal act. At this stage I want to find

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Customer: Please provide details about membership costs
JA: That depends on how many expert areas you want to subscribe to and how many questions a month you want to ask.
Customer: Adice is sought regarding an alleged criminal act. At this stage I want to find out is the required procedure for police to follow, what the police need to divulge about an allegation before they can charge a person. What does the $5 membership that I can see while typing this cover?
JA: Have any charges been filed? If so, when is the next court date?
Customer: No charges filed yet
JA: In what state did this occur?
Customer: Auckland NZ - are you NZ based or what
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Please answer my question. I just want confrimation I am chatting with someone familiar with NZ law
Answered by Chris The Lawyer in 2 hours 2 years ago
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Chris The Lawyer
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Chris The Lawyer
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

Hi
I am a New Zealand lawyer based in Wellington and will help you with your question today. Please give me a minute to read the question

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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

The procedure is usually that the Police receive a complaint, open a file and begin to investigate. Sometimes the evidence is made known and they investigate. They then talk to the alleged offender and any witnesses. At that point a police prosecutor will decide if there is an offence and will file a charging document with the District Court and give a copy to the offender. The Police have obligations of disclosure after the charging document is filed, but prior to that, they do not need to disclose what they are investigating

Customer
Thanks Chris. I saw the reply sent by text so responded by text but didn't use proper procedure.
Please confirm that any phone conversations as well as other communications are strictly confidential, and advise if phone calls incur extra costs above this type of electronic chat.
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

These discussions are anonymous, but can be seen on searching this website. However if you have a phone call, which is extra that would be protected by the usual lawyer/client confidentiality. There is an additional cost for a phone call

Customer
Please advise whether or not the $89 fee covers just one phone conversation - if so what is maximum time limit?
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

It is for one phone call, and lasts as long as you need

Customer
Q.1. Is the “charging document” you referred to in answer to my first question produced after a “recorded interview”?
My understanding of various points is as follows, please advise whether these are correct or not.
Q.2. No recordings of conversations is permitted unless it has been made clear that this will happen.
Q.3. Prior to a “recorded interview” the accused must be given the option to talk to a lawyer prior to the interview.
Q.4. If a Police Detention Legal Assistance Lawyer is used, is there a possibility of “bias” that could be detrimental to the accused?
Q.5. Are the lawyers that provide legal advice during a formal interview physically present, or how does this work.
Q.6. If you want to have a lawyer not a Police Detention Legal Assistance Lawyer, how much in advance of the interview would this need to be arranged?
Q.7. During a “recorded interview” prior to being “charged” with the alleged offence, are the police allowed to ask questions such as “have you ever lied”?
Even for someone totally innocent of any allegations, such a question has real fish hooks.
The reason being that I doubt very much that any person could truthfully 100% answer “no” to that, but if it was answered “yes” (even, for example, telling a to a lie as a young child because of being scared of the consequences of accidentally breaking something as a kid) it could be used as an admission resulting in the response “you have admitted you lie, so why should we believe you now”?
If that was asked during a “recorded interview” how could one respond truthfully without risking a backlash.
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

1. That is usually the case. Not all people charged agreed to have an interview however. But the charging document is filed once the police prosecution service consider there is a case to answer based on the investigation

.2. there cannot be any secret recording – any person being interviewed must be told there is a recording being taken. There is a formal process for explaining this.

3. The person being interviewed must be told of the right to contact a lawyer if there is likely to be something adverse in the discussion leading to a possible charge

4. I don't understand this question – the lawyers rostered on for this service are defence lawyers, so I don't know where the bias issue would come in.

5. Generally the lawyer will be contacted by phone, but in more serious cases they will come and discuss this with the person being interviewed and sit through the interview

6. If you want another lawyer, you would need to arrange this well in advance. Alternatively, you could refuse the video interview until your lawyer was available.

7. That would not be a proper question, and if the police tried to use this, you can challenge the admissibility before this case goes to trial

8. The correct response to a question like that would be to declined to answer because it is an unfair question

Customer
Thank you for those clear answers.
With regard to question 5, if the lawyer is contacted by phone, is he continually linked to the conversation throughout the "recorded interview" so that he can advise the accused as questions are asked - or how does it work?
This process is totally new to us.
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

If the lawyer is contacted by phone, he would not take part in the recorded interview but simply give advice about what the interviewee should be doing

Customer
Can the accused phone the lawyer during the interview if something comes up he is unsure how to handle?
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

He can but it isn't always easy as the lawyer isnt "on tap" for the recorded interview

Customer
Thanks
Customer
If, part way through a "recorded interview, you cannot get your lawyer on the phone at the time to seek advise you feel you need, can you ask for the interview to be suspended until you can seek advise on a matter, and would that be a "right" or would it be at police discretion?
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

You can stop the interview at any time you want, either to get advice or because you don't want to say any more. There is no obligation to keep talking but in practice the police would likely want to continue the interview rather than let you consult with the lawyer again during the course of the interview.

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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

You should be aware that the interview can be challenged subsequently as evidence in court if it was obtained unfairly. There are plenty of examples where the police have not permitted access to a lawyer and the admissions made in the subsequent interview have been challenged successfully. The court has an overriding discretion to reject unfairly obtained evidence

Customer
Thank you. One final (?) question for now.
The questions I have been asking relate to an accusation made against one of our sons. Something historical (about 30 years ago - he would have been 13 or 14 at the time). It is totally unexpected and he completely denies the allegations.
He has agreed to go for a "recorded interview" tomorrow morning at 10:30am
If he considers it appropriate, could you make yourself available for him to talk to prior to the interview, and to be "on tap" during the time it may take. If so, what would be the cost for such a service? And how would he contact you ?
And if you are not able to be available, do you know of another lawyer who may be able to at this short notice, and their contact details? The accusation comes under the category of "Indecent Assault" Any recommendations
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

Is this in Wellington?

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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

Sorry, I see you are in Auckland

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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

I could be available by phone however. It's unusual for someone who is alleged to have committed an offence at that age to be charged

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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

I have also just discussed this with a colleague who has considerable experience in these sorts of charges. In some ways we thought, it may be not a good idea at all to go to the interview and contact the police to say that after taking advice, he declines to give an interview. There is a possibility he could still be charged anyway. If he did go to the interview I would suggest that he calls my colleague Val Nisbet at 04472077 beforehand to brief the situation and see whether it is appropriate to actually say anything. Of course, if he doesn't recall anything, that it might be a fairly short interview

Customer
Our son used to go and play with the son of one of our friends, and his suster, who would have been around 9 at the time is the one who laid the complaint. Her mother told me that at that time her daughter had told her that our son had done "something" but that she had not taken it seriously as her daughter had a habit of "lying". However, her daughter who is having marriage difficulties is blaming it on this historical allegation, and the mother says it must be true otherwise it would not have had such an devastating effect on her daughter.
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

There could be real difficulties in bringing this to a trial, but as you will realise, the risk of a conviction on your son's life would be catastrophic. The police will often interview people for these sorts of cases, but they need to also consider whether this would be a suitable matter to go to trial, and the evidence would need to be fairly convincing.

Customer
Up until what time can I or my son contact you by phone if he feels this necessary. He is currently at work. And would this be a time based fee or come under the $89 fee or what?
Customer
My wife and I have already been interviewed
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

I think the importance for your son is that he should instruct a lawyer to take him through the process and see if it is appropriate that he gives an interview. I did suggest my colleague who is a very experienced senior criminal lawyer could have a discussion with him – let me know if that works, but that would be something outside of this site. We give general advice, and something as important as this needs more specific directed advice

Customer
Thank you.
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

He has left for the day, but if you want to call him I can contact him

Customer
Could you please ask him about his availability, fee structure, and best way to contact him (eg.can he be available this evening for a phone discussion with my son, or what time in the morning bearing in mind the currently arranged interview is for 10:30am. I will pass these onto my son. Also, are you able to share with him this "thread" of on line chat?
Customer
Just talking with my son who lives at a differnt address. He would like to call your colleague in the morning prior to his interview at 10:30.
Can you please advise Val Nisbet about this and provide appropriate contact details if there are any other than the number you provided. Should it only have 6 digits after the area code?
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

I have left a message with him and will contact you when I have heard

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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

Val's number is(###) ###-####he says to call when you need to

Customer
Thank you so much
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

Please feel free to follow up if you have more questions or rate my answer if you are ready
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