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New legal rights leaflet for people arrested

Police suspects who are arrested, or even just stopped and searched on the street, need to know their legal rights, according to a campaign group.

And the Centre for Justice has now produced a 16-page leaflet on the rights of anyone who comes into contact with Bermuda’s law and order system.

The leaflet — ‘What do I do If I am arrested?’ — provides information on talking to the police, being stopped and searched, and being arrested. It guides the reader through their rights in custody, participation in identification procedures, and how to get free legal advice.

“This is to assist anyone who finds themselves in police custody without a lawyer,” Venous Memari, the Centre for Justice’s managing director, said. “Our role is to help people to understand Bermuda’s laws, and consequently their rights under those laws.

“If you have ever been arrested, or taken to a police station, or been in court — or even been stopped and searched on the street — it’s intimidating. Knowing the rules should help. Ideally, you would have a lawyer to guide you through this new territory, but if you don’t, then there are things you should know.”

“We’re not trying to take the place of a lawyer, and this is not legal advice. What we’ve aimed to do is demonstrate for individuals how the system works for them — not against them. I want to make it clear that this is in no way intended to undermine procedures that protect us all. Centre for Justice exists to protect the rule of law.”

The leaflets are available for downloading from the Centre for Justice’s website. In addition, hard copies are available at their office in The Armoury Building on Reid Street, Hamilton, all police stations, the Legal Aid Office, the Human Rights Commission, the Office of the Ombudsman, as well as other community organisations.

To download a leaflet go to http://www.justice.bm/publications-resources/criminal-justice

Know your rights

According to the Centre for Justice pamphlet, anyone arrested and taken into custody has the right to;

l Remain silent.

l Get legal advice.

l Tell someone where they are.

l Have medical help if they are feeling ill.

l Read the rules the police must follow.

l Receive a written notice about their rights.

If you are arrested, the police must;

l Tell you that you are being arrested

l Tell you what offence you are suspected of committing

l Explain why it is necessary to arrest you

l Caution you with words to the effect that you do not have to say anything unless you wish to do so, but anything you do say may be given in evidence.

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Published June 19, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated June 19, 2013 at 12:01 am)

New legal rights leaflet for people arrested

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