The most recent announcement
regarding the right to remain silent being taken away from the accused in these
Islands is a bit troubling.
Cayman Islands lawmakers and myself have realised the importance of the Miranda Rights that protect the rights of the
innocent and the accused. That section relating to the accused had been
provided in the constitution, which was recently approved, but now it is being
The chipping away of the positive
aspects of the bill of rights and the constitution has a long lasting affect on
the lives and future of our youth and our society as a whole. It would not hurt
if lawmakers insist that these aspects already
grafted into the constitution remain and the language carefully drafted
after the US Miranda Law outlined as follows:
You have the right to remain
silent; anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
You have the right to an attorney. If you desire an attorney and cannot afford
one, an attorney will be obtained for you before police questioning.
Anyone who has watched a TV police
drama has heard this speech, or one similar to it. Every day, police throughout
the United States
recite these words of warning to suspects before formally questioning them for
specific crimes. The “You have a right to remain silent” speech is known as the
Miranda Warning because its legal requirements were established in the ground
breaking US Supreme Court case Miranda vs Arizona. In that case, the court ruled that
the statements made by the person accused of a crime could not be used as
evidence at his or her trial unless the accused “voluntarily, knowingly, and
intelligently” waived the constitutional right to remain silent. It was a
revolutionary and highly controversial decision. Until that time, the right to
remain silent had been thought to apply only to trials. The Fifth Amendment to
the US Constitution guaranteed criminal defendants the right not to testify
against themselves in a court of law. In Miranda, however, the Supreme Court extended
the right to remain silent beyond the courtroom to the police interrogation
The US Supreme Court had a major
impact on law enforcement, creating a new procedure protecting the rights of
the accused that have often fallen victim to police interrogation.
What is the Miranda Rights really
saying? The exact wording of the Miranda Rights statement is not specified in
the Supreme Court’s historic decision.
Instead, law enforcement agencies
have created a basic set of simple statements that can be read to accused persons
prior to any questioning.
The Court continues by declaring
what the police must do if the person being interrogated indicates that he or
she does want a lawyer.
The Miranda Rights do not protect
you from being arrested, only from incriminating yourself during questioning.
All police need to legally arrest a person is probable cause; an adequate
reason based on facts and events to believe the person has committed a crime.
Police are required to read him his Miranda Rights only before interrogating a
suspect. While failure to do so may cause any subsequent statements to be
thrown out of court, the arrest may still be legal and valid.
Also, without reading the Miranda
Rights, police are allowed to ask routine questions like name, address, date of
birth and social security number necessary to establishing a person’s identity.
Police can also administer alcohol and drug tests without warning, but persons
being tested may refuse to answer questions during the tests. Source: Court TV
Legal Survival Guide
As A Caymanian I am concerned that
removing the right to remain silent will violate the rights of the accused
while empowering the police for corruption and forced confessions that may not
necessarily be true.
Despite the rise in crime and the
need to apprehend individuals in an effort to make our country safe, robbing
Peter to pay Paul is not the way to go. The RCIPS has its rights, but so does
We must be careful, when making
these serious decisions and the AG must get it right this time. I’m not sure he
has. This recent report of a change to our constitution is very troubling.
To date there has been way too much
tampering with out constitution. This is very dangerous and if we continue to
allow this there will be more chipping away of our rights and privileges until
we have nothing left and we find ourselves living under a dictatorship regime
of absolute power.