Arrested suspect entitled to more information Cleerdin & Hamer
An arrested suspect is entitled to more information than he receives
In practice it often happens that a suspect is arrested and detained without knowing exactly what he is suspected of. The suspect is thus made impossible to discuss his case with a lawyer and to challenge his arrest. This practice causes delays for the police and is also contrary to the law. The working process can be easily adjusted, argues criminal law specialist Max den Blanken.
Information about the suspicion
In most cases, if a suspect is arrested by the police, he or she will know why. Because he just stole a can of beer or was involved in a fight, for example. There are also situations where the suspect does not know this. Because there is a change of person and the suspect is completely innocent, but even guilty suspects do not always know why they are being arrested. This is particularly the case with arrests outside the act. The suspect is sometimes only arrested months (or years) after a criminal offense. For a man with an aggression problem, who ends up in a fight every month, the information that he was arrested for a “fight in 2018” is insufficient information. He fought ten times in 2018. It may well be that he is involved, but which fight is it about?
Through a picket notification, the lawyer will only hear the article of the law for which his client has been arrested. In the case of the fight “art. 300 Criminal Code “; in which mistreatment is punishable. Time and Reganaats, or any information about the incident itself are not mentioned. The lawyer can ask the police for more information by telephone, but even then no further information is regularly provided.
Double work for the police and the lawyer
The lawyer visits his client to jointly determine the strategy for the interrogation. They both don’t know which fight the client is suspected of, so they decide not to answer the police questions. First let’s hear what he is suspected of. After an interrogation of an hour and a half, it is finally clear to the suspect which fight is involved. He would like to make a statement. But not before he has spoken with his lawyer. Another conversation follows with the lawyer and another police interview. All double and time-consuming work. There are no figures, but in practice this situation occurs very regularly. That must be possible more efficiently.
In violation of European rules
This practice is not only inconvenient, but also contrary to the rights of the accused. From European regulations and from judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, it follows that every suspect is entitled to information as from his arrest (a) of what specific fact he is suspected of, (b) what criminal offense this would be considered by the police and (c) if known, time and Reganaats. According to the European Court, this right is of great importance to guarantee a fair trial and to allow the suspect to challenge his arrest before a judge.
In the Netherlands, the police do not comply with this. Only the legal qualification, the article of law (b) is communicated. An adaptation of this practice is therefore not only important to prevent duplication of work, but also to guarantee the rights of suspects.
If the fighters had been told that he was suspected of (a) fighting Rick van Leusden (c) in café Ruis on December 5, 2018, (b) what a suspicion of mistreatment (art. 300 Sr.) oReganevert, respected his rights and had already made a statement at the first interrogation (self-defense). It is easy for the police to state this information when they are arrested and on the picket form. A small adjustment improves the effectiveness of the police interrogation and ensures that the rights of the suspect are respected. A win-win situation. To adjust!