Lawyer lists 7 reasons why one must never give a statement to the police without a lawyer’s advice
17 July 2023
Ernestina Obboh Botchwey, Assistant Public Defender at the Legal Aid Commission, has advised Ghanaians to never give a statement to the police after their arrest without the advice of a lawyer or in the absence of a lawyer.
Ms Botchwey emphasized that it is not compulsory to give a statement to the police so without a lawyer or expert legal advice, one ought to be silent and refuse to give any statement to the police.
“I am going to give you seven reasons why you should not, you must not, you must never give your statement to the police without the presence of your lawyer or without the advice of your lawyer.
The first thing you should know is that it is not compulsory for anyone to give a statement to the police. It is not compulsory! In fact, our Constitution, the highest law of the land, says that everyone who is arrested and charged with an offence has the right to keep quiet, keep silent, from the time that he was arrested even till the end of the case. So even if you come to Court and you tell the judge that: “I don’t want to say anything”. The judge does not have any business forcing you to say something at all costs. So the police also has no obligation to force you to say something or give a statement. You have no such obligation,” she said on her YouTube channel
Ms Botchwey then went ahead to list and explain the seven reasons why, for her, giving a statement to the police without a lawyer’s presence or advice is not advisable.
“The police, when they’re taking your statement, usually do not even know, sometimes, what to charge you with. So they do not even know what they’re looking for, most likely…It is your words, those are the things that he will rely on to charge you for this or that…So why should you be the one helping the police to charge you?” She quizzed.
She continued by enumerating the other reasons: “Giving a statement to the police amounts to arming the lawyer of your opponent to prosecute you; giving a statement upon your arrest can lead to you giving an inaccurate account of happening due to trauma; questions asked by police during the writing of your statement can lead you to incriminate yourself; interpretation from one language to another can lead you to give a self-incriminating statement; lack of video evidence at the scene of crime and the reliance of a witness while giving a statement can lead a tampering with the statement; and the importance placed on statements by the Court means one must be extra cautious when giving them, hence the need for a lawyer or his/her advice.
Ms Botchwey has dedicated her YouTube channel, Lawyer Tina, to educating the public on important legal matters that they ought to know. She regularly provides feedback to her subscribers and viewers on the legal issues she discusses.