Arrested girl threatened to sign a unfamiliar statement sheet without lawyers’ advice

On 13rd October 2019, anti-ELAB protests were held in many districts, including Wong Tai Sin and Sham Shui Po, where protesters tried to block the roads. 6 months later, two students and one architect consultant were charged of nuisances committed in public places. They appeared in Kowloon City Magistrates’ Courts on 8th April 2020.

One of the defendants, a 16-year-old girl complained in court that a police officer threatened her not to seek lawyers’ advice, and forced her to sign on a unfamiliar statement sheet.

 

Arresting procedures:

Taking statements
1. Before taking a statement from the detained person, the police officer must caution you by saying, “You are not obliged to say anything unless you wish to do so but whatever you say will be put into writing and may be given in evidence.” You may choose whether or not to answer any question asked by the police, as you have a right to silence.

2. You may also request to obtain legal advice before deciding whether or not to answer any questions. You may also have your lawyer present during the questioning and taking of any statement.
3. You may ask the police for a list of solicitors whom you can consult. The police have a duty to provide the list to you upon request, and allow you to telephone the solicitor unless this will seriously prejudice their investigation. However, free legal services are not available to you at this stage.
4. If you choose to answer any of the police officer’s questions, all the questions and answers will be written down as a “Record of Interview” (often referred to as a “cautioned statement”). Upon conclusion of the interview the police have an obligation to provide you with a copy of this Record of Interview.

Young persons
1. According to the Rules and Directions for the Questioning of Suspects and the taking of Statements, any young person under the age of 16 years of age should only be interviewed by the police in the presence of a parent or guardian, or in their absence, someone who is not a police officer and is of the same sex as the child.
2. A child or young person should not be arrested or interviewed at school, unless it is essential, which in that case the interview should be conducted in the presence of the head teacher or his nominee.