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Police powers after arrest

Rights after arrest

As soon as reasonably practical after an arrest police must advise the person arrested that:

  • anything said may be taken down and used against him or her in evidence,
  • a telephone call can be made (care should be taken that no one can overhear the call) to a relative or friend and they can be present during questioning [Summary Offences Act 1953 s 79A]. The police can exclude someone if they reasonably suspect that, as a result, an accomplice would avoid apprehension or that evidence would be destroyed or fabricated [s 79A]. This does not apply to having a solicitor present.
  • They may contact a solicitor.

After a person is arrested, an independent person should be told of the arrest and the place of detention. It is a good idea to have a lawyer present during an interview and no questions should be answered (other than those which must be) before the arrival/advise of a lawyer. If a solicitor, relative or friend attends a police station and a request to speak to the arrested person is refused, that person should take notes of the names of all persons spoken to and what was said. This may assist in casting doubt on the credibility of any interview conducted with the suspect.

If it appears that the arrest is unlawful, a verbal objection should be made to the officer in charge of the police station.

Police powers after arrest  :  Last Revised: Wed Dec 30th 2009
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.