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You should always cooperate with Police by giving them your name and address when asked.

However, you should always obtain legal advice before participating in a Police interview. Every situation will be different, but as a rule of thumb, you should neither deny nor admit what the Police say you did. Just say ‘no comment’.

The law presumes every accused person to be innocent until proven guilty. The prosecution must establish proof of your guilt beyond reasonable doubt. You are not required, nor expected, to present evidence of your innocence.

There are laws that allow Police to search you and your personal belongings. The Police must explain the reasons for the search to you. You should ‘submit’ to the search but do not ‘consent’. You should always ask for a trusted friend or family member to be present. This reduces the risk of an improper search by the Police.

Unlike our cousins in the United States, we do not have an equivalent Fifth Amendment Right to Silence entrenched into our constitution. In fact, we have very few constitutional rights in Australia.

The right to silence in Australia is generally protected by the common law and laws made by Parliament. In New South Wales, if you are charged with a serious indictable offence, an adverse (bad) inference may be made against you if you exercise your ‘right’ to silence.

A section 10 is the most lenient sentence that a Court can impose. It essentially means that you are guilty of the offence, but the Court wants to give you another chance without a criminal record.

A barrister is a specialised advocate that argues your case in Court.

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