Things you need to know when dealing with cops

Voon Lee Shan - file pic

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KUCHING, Oct 30: Veteran lawyer Voon Lee Shan today released a statement to inform the public on their rights if they were ever called by the police to “assist in an investigation”.

The former Batu Lintang assemblyman spoke of the need to exercise caution by finding out whether you are being treated as a witness or as a suspect in the case under investigation.

“If you are a suspect, you have the right not to give a statement. If you are a suspect and wish to give a statement, you are advised to chose your words very carefully,” he emphasized.

At the same time, if you have a defence, you may wish to disclose your defence so that the investigating officer can verify its veracity. If it is determined that your defence could rebut the allegations against you, the case against you could be dropped.

Voon, who is a former police officer, revealed that in an investigation, the investigating officers were only allowed to record what you say. They are not allowed to twist what you say or leave out what you want to say in your statement.

He added that the investigating officers were also not allowed to lead you on what should be said or not to say in the statement.

“You can be in deep trouble with the law if this happens to you.

“Further, investigating officers are not allowed to use threat, force or undue pressure to get you to sign a statement which you could not understand.

“If any of these happened to you, it is your right not to sign the statement. If the officer still insists, you are advised, after signing the statement, to lodge a police report against the officer concerned in the same police station,” he advised.

Voon said he decided to give this advice following a nasty incident that happened to a client of his in a police station.

“To police investigating officers, my advice to you all is that you are only to do your duty professionally and with politeness, because members of the public know their rights and they have a right to take legal action against you if you acted high handedly,” said Voon.

Voon further shared that he had in the past came across people being convicted because of all these tricks used by law enforcement officers who abused their power or were on the take. — DayakDaily