Right to silence curtailed, not abolished

Recently approved changes in
Cayman’s Police Law that curtail a criminal suspect’s right to remain silent
under questioning will not violate the country’s Bill of Rights when it comes
into effect in November 2012, the Human Rights Commission has said.

Contrary to various reports and
statements in the local media which stated the introduction of ‘adverse
inferences’ to a suspect’s silence in certain cases amounted to the elimination
of the right to silence, committee chairman Richard Coles said that right had
not been abolished or eliminated.

“But under the Police Law it is no
longer an absolute right,” Mr. Coles wrote in a letter to the Caymanian Compass
Monday. “Silence now carries adverse consequences for an accused.”

The committee did have some
concerns about the application of these adverse inferences, particularly since
no regulations that guide police officers in their use have been made public
since the Police Bill, 2010, was passed by the Legislative Assembly last week.

“The accused may not be aware of
these adverse consequences and under the Police Law these do not have to be
explained to the accused by police,” Mr. Coles wrote. “If the accused receives
timely legal advice that may help the situation, but the present legal aid
system would not provide legal advice at this early stage. Legal aid can only
be granted during court proceedings.”

The way adverse inferences would be
applied under the Police Law is essentially that a suspect who remained silent
throughout the police interview process and chose not to defend themselves
during court proceedings would not have such inferences drawn against them.

However, a person who remained
silent during police interviews and then made statements about what occurred in
their own defence at court would be allowed to have adverse inferences drawn
against them, if a judge allowed it.

Cayman Islands Attorney General
Samuel Bulgin said the new version of the Police Law makes it impossible to
draw adverse inferences against anyone who has not received proper legal advice
at the time of their interview with the cops.

The Human Rights Commission notes
that there are “some built-in protections for the accused”, but it questioned
what would be done under the current legal aid system with a criminal defendant
who could not afford to pay their own attorney.

“If legal aid is to be granted at
this stage before a suspect has been charged, who will make this decision?” Mr.
Coles asked. “There is likely to be significant cost to this.”

The Cayman Islands government has
proposed major changes to the legal aid system, which provides attorneys for
indigent defendants, mainly in criminal cases. However, those changes have not
been put in place and both the Human Rights Commission and the court system
seem unaware of what the government has planned with regard to legal aid.

 

Code of practice

Although the governor must assent
to any and all laws passed by the Legislative Assembly before they come into
effect, the Human Rights Commission opined that the new Police Law should not
take effect until accompanying regulations are set down and approved by
Cabinet.

The commission noted that it has
not seen copies of these regulations.

“It is imperative that these
regulations and rules are examined to ensure that they are in compliance with
the Bill of Rights and the international human rights treaties that are extended
to the Cayman Islands,” Mr. Coles wrote. He said a code of practice for police
officers should be in place that would set out safeguards for police to observe
in relation to these additional powers “including questioning an accused who
wished to remain silent”.

“The HRC has not received a
response from government to our comments and suggestions, nor have they
indicated whether any of our comments and/or suggestions been incorporated into
the law which recently passed.”

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Thank God that someone is reading this forum !

    And that they’re paying attention to the knowledgeable, factual opinions and evidence offered here, by peeps such as Watchmiwatchu and others.

    The information in this article mirrors the concerns of those of us who actually do know anything about the human rights situation re the Cayman Islands.

    Richard Coles comments in this article are a direct refutation and answer to some of the statements in Florence Goring-Nozza’s letter regarding the Miranda Rights changes to the Police Law just passed in the Cayman Islands.

    Obviously Ms. Goring-Nozza’s misleading, erroneous comments have stirred up a storm of controversial debate that needed an official answer and clarification.

    The Human Rights Commission has done exactly what has been suggested here on this forum; they have contacted the office of the Governor with their concerns regarding this Police Law 2010 and its potential for abuse, under Cayman’s current system.

    In the UK, the public has protection under arrest by having on call at all times, the Duty Solicitor, who’s job is to offer immediate legal advice to a suspect under arrest, free of charge; he/she is a government appointee under the Human Rights Act in the UK.

    There is absolutely no such protection in the Cayman Islands,with the police being given more powers so the potential for abuse of that power is glaringly obvious.

    What Richard Coles has requested of the Governor is to hold this Police Law from coming into effect until the regulations that guide and govern these new police powers are laid out and made quite clear in the law and to the public.

    The key unanswered question here still remains; under what conditions and circumstances will police in the Cayman Islands not be required to inform suspects of the right to remain silent ?

    When these regulations are formalised, this question MUST be answered and the Human Rights Commission are well aware and within their power to request the Governor to address this issue.

    Peeps who are really interested in their rights should follow this story and sequence of events very closely for themselves.

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  2. Mr. Firey,

    If anyone is misleading and making erroneous statements it is you and WatchmiWatchYou I guess you are both twins or the siamese, and you alone are doing the misleading.

    Thank God I am reading for myself and not allowing you to read for me and in turn give me a misleading and deceptive interpretation out of pure anger, vindictiveness and vendetta. Yes we are all aware of that one.

    The writer "Vietnam" gave a beautiful explanation of what Ms. Florence Goring-Nozza stated about the Miranda Law.

    You’re still mad as a liberal that you did not have your way with the constitution. Its time to stop, the woman is a heavy weight and Mr. Desmond Seales called her a "Thought Provoking Writer" and that she is. This woman can bring things to your attention that Nobody else sees or notices, and your efforts to discredit the writer is absolutely "Futile" she is a heavy weight indeed when it comes to presenting serious issues to the attention of the people and to government. She knows how to twist the arm of government and that you can not deny! Ha Ha Ha!
    You still will not admit that the statements in her letter is similar to what Mr. Alden McLaughlin, MLA has stated. Why? because this is a "Personal War" you are fighting. Be careful, you’re fighting a losing battle.

    Just as Mr. Vietnam advised you Why get personal, this is a legal issue that concerns all of us and we are more concerned about the issue that joining up with you in a personal war that we are all aware of. That’s cheap. I disagree with you completely in your misleading statements to the people.
    You seem to be constantly competing with writers who hit home, and straight to the heart and soul of he issues facing our society.
    The article written by the lady was indeed a brilliant article. She stayed on course pointing out that accused innocent persons would suffer because they would not being made aware of his or her rights while in custody. Why would you deliberately mislead the Caymanian readers Mr. Firey?
    We as educated and comprehensive readers FOR OURSELVES do not need you to read nor interpret for us.We truly understand the important points she has been making, and that is the accused will not be instructed by the police of his right to remain silent and right to an attorney any longer. Why would you deliberately confuse the situation just to be nasty? Yes Ms. Goring-Nozza’s statements in her letter were impressive enough to get the attention of the HRC Comittee Chairman, Mr.Richard Coles who further explained what should have been explained by the AG upon his announcement of the change in this law.The AG’s teethless announcement caused the confusion, and left must oopeness for misinterpretation, It could have been avoided. I guess you’re afraid to speak out against him so you go after the Lady, a coward you are! Mr. Coles also pointed out that that it is in the law BUT THE POLICE FROM HERE ON WILL NOT TELL THE ACCUSED OF HIS CIVIL RIGHTS AND LIBERTY. That’s the problem with the law.

    This writer is not even saying that the US laws are binding here in the Cayman Islands but it is good food for thought that US Miranda law does work and ensures legal representation and the rights of the accused when arrested.

    In all fairness Ms. Goring-Nozza’s recent letter and explanation of the Right to Remain silent. Her comprehensive approach contains indeed very good points of conceivable good aspects of the US Miranda Law that the Cayman Islands could benefit from
    You choose to ignore this deliberately for personal reasons.
    Thank God we as readers appreciate that Ms. Florence Goring Nozza’s reference to the US Miranda Law is a commendable effort for our Judicial systems to consider for adoption of moral perspective to help explain this state of our legal affairs.
    As I am an Attorney I advise you that the rule as it will be argued, protects the legitimacy of any trial deliberation as it for bids reliance on mere assumption by the police that disrespects Moral Autonomy of the accused person whose conduct is being judged. This stir of concern is well warranted, and
    moral objections arise frequently in criminal proceedings.

    Ms. Goring-Nozza’s statements has been of great effect and I’m sure the HRC’s expert judgment is that "although the governor must assent to any and all laws passed by the Legislative Assembly before they come into effect, HRC opined the new Police Law should not take effect until after accompanying regulations are set down and approved by Cabinet.

    The HRC had not even seen copies of the regulations that should be in compliance with the Bill of rights and internal Human rights treaties extended the Cayman Islands..Also a code of practice for RCIP needed to be in place to safeguard Police given additional powers, while questioning an accused who wished to remain silent.

    It wouldn’t be a bad idea that you devote you time to fighting a real enemy and stop attacking people that are looking out for the good of the country.

    there’s a great difference between you and this writer.
    I suggest you find yourself, and your place and stay there.
    Good work, good article and research Ms. Goring-Nozza. Thank you for taking the time to open the eyes of the people to what could very well be facing them. with the HRC jumping in as well I daresay at the end of the day things should be ironed out.

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  3. As a British Attorney I’d like to congratulate Ms. Florence Goring-Nozza for her explanation of the Miranda Rights that the accused in the Cayman Islands could benefit from if implemented.

    I’m sure that you all can benefit from this effort of her’s. She did get the ball running didn’t she. And I’ve also read some comments of rebuttal, obviously out of apparent pure envy or competitive nature. I can only allude to say ‘Any bloody bloke that would try to compete or defy a writer of this caliber has got to be a "Bloody Barmpot"!

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  4. Dubai

    If I were you, I would read Ms. Florence Goring-Nozza’s letter again very carefully.

    I would then read the news article quoting Richard Coles again, very carefully.

    I would then go back and read the other commentary posted by readers here on this forum before Ms. Goring -Nozza’s letter was published, again, very carefully.

    The Miranda Rights, as brilliant as Ms. Goring-Nozza’s letter might sound to you, is a part of US constitutional rights law, not law in the Cayman Islands.

    The premise that the Miranda Rights is part of the constitution of the Cayman Islands is the basis of Ms. Goring-Nozza’s letter.

    This is where individuals like yourself are easily misled; these rights have yet to be imbeded in the Caymanian constitution and will apply as they apply in Britain, not the United States.

    Richard Coles has made this clarification quite clearly and and also the steps he has taken to provide what will be a temporary solution to the problem until a Bill of Rights is imbedded in the Caymanian constitution.

    The present solution to the situation was certainly made no mention of in Florence Goring-Nozza’s letter but then again, how can you suggest a solution to a problem that you don’t really understand in the first place ?

    I don’t have to worry about my own individual human rights, they are well protected.

    I worry about my friends and family who enjoy no such protection.

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  5. It is really breathtaking to be able to participate in a forum without spewing venom. Have you noticed that the lady he’s criticizing is not even wasting her time to address his accusations. I call that an individual that does not allow unqualified people like you to judge them! We the readers are well aware that Mr. R.T has a personal vendetta against the writer and he should sort that out outside of our time ; without trying to rally or incite a riot in these forums. It is contributors like these that destroyed the Cayman Net News forums and brought down judgment on Cayman Net News. Carrying hatred can not breed positive results, it is a curse. I suggest you commit yourself to a rehab center or try to locate Dr. Phil perhaps Oprah can give you a hand in connecting you with him; but you really need some serious help. Your friends that went to school with you reports that you throw a tantrum when you can’t have your way! Surprise.

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  6. I have read it again and again and the writer is correct.You are the one deliberately misleading people.

    Oh Yes we are following YOU very closely, before you hurt yourself. God help you.

    Editor’s note: This comment had to edited for legal reasons.

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  7. Vietnam

    Somehow I suspect that you and Dubai are one and the same person but, leave that as it may or may not be…

    This is a forum and people are free to voice their opinions, criticise or whatever they wish as long as slander and libel is avoided.

    My opinions on this topic and the related one before it are posted here long before your letter writer’s letter was published so your accusations of any personal enmity, vendetta or personal attacks on Ms.Florence goring-Nozza are entirely baseless.

    Any differing opinions expressed here have been only about opinions expressed in the public media, which are always open to differing points of view or relevant facts.

    No criticisms or accusations have been leveled at this lady on a personal level.

    If one cannot stand they heat, they should stay out of the kitchen; obviously the heat of having your views questioned is a little too much for you.

    What is obvious is that you, her suppporters cannot countenance any responses or opinions based on verifiable facts that oppose or refute those expressed by either her or yourselves.

    You’re quite welcome to dwell in that dark and unenlightened world that you’ve created for yourselves.

    I pity those in the Cayman Islands who allow you to create that world for them also but then again, that is yours and their problem, not mine.

    Somehow, I feel that the Cayman Islands is not a very enviable place to be existing in right now.

    Otherwise, we would not be having this discussion any at all.

    You are quite welcome to your Cayman, mate.

    Editor’s note: This comment had to be edited for legal reasons.

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