The process of being arrested and conveyed to a garda station for questioning is enormously stressful. Complying with various demands such as the taking of photographs and DNA samples is envasive. Mark O'Sullivan Solicitor
Facing questioning under such circumstances is not easy. It is absolutely vital that anyone detained in a garda station receives immediate legal advice from a solicitor who is experienced in this area.
The law has changed dramatically over the last number of years and the rights of detained persons have greatly diminished. In particular, the right to remain silent has been greatly eroded by recent legislation - much to the distain of defence lawyers and human rights advocates. The ‘right’ still exists but, in a lot of cases, remaining silent can adversely affect your case down the line. A jury is entitled to draw ‘inferences’ from the fact that an accused person did not answer certain questions put to him at interview.
In 2014 a significant change was introduced to the detention procedure. A detained peson is now entitled to have their solicitor present during their interview at a garda station. Prior to this year such a right did not exist and you were only entitled to consult your solicitor prior to your interview.
The most important advice for anyone detained at a garda station is to exercise extreme caution. Remember that your case starts here and what you say, or don’t say, during your interview will have a huge bearing on the outcome of your case. Unfortunately I have heard many people tell me that they made a statement to the guards as they just wanted to be released from garda custody as quickly as possible. This approach should never be taken. Remember that you can not be detained unnecessarily and the power of detention may only be invoked for the proper investigation of an offence. Once the guards have questioned you and are satisfied that you have complied with the various requirements, they must either charge you or release you from custody immediately.
When your solicitor arrives at the garda station they will have a consultation with you in private. They will advise you on your rights in the garda station, the interview procedure, the length of time you may be detained (this depends on which legislation you have been detained under) and, crucially, your options during interview. They will also offer you advice and support during the interview.