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My legal matter concerning an application for a Domestic Violence Order was managed by Mr Thomas Allen. I am grateful for the outcome he obtained. Without Mr Allen and his ongoing support, I would be certain of a different result. It has been an extremely stressful period. Mr Allen’s astute ability to liaise on my behalf and his expertise was invaluable and for which I am grateful as I am now able to move forward. Thanking you
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Armstrong Legal and specifically Mr Thomas Allen for representing me in my recent case. At the outset, I would like to thank Mr Allen for the very professional delivery of his legal service. From the first time that I met Mr Allen, I was very impressed with his demeanour and delivery as he made me feel at ease knowing the severity of my case. Mr Allen not only gave me the possible positive outcomes of the case but also the realisation of the worst-case scenario as far as sentencing goes. … I will certainly be recommending Armstrong Legal to any of my friends or family needing representation in criminal matters. Thank you so very much.
Thank you for your representation and help. Fingers crossed for the next step and parole. I just want to say that from the first phone call to your office, your service has been outstanding and have put my mind at ease. I am glad I picked your number to ring.
Thank you Armstrong Legal, the lawyers that have helped over the past 3 years but more importantly, thank you to Thomas Allen for the major part you and Mr Buckland played. Cannot thank you enough. Cheers.
Hi all. I would like to thank Ms Lisa Riley for all her help with my legal issues this past month. It was the most harrowing experience of my life and thanks to her expertise, professionalism and knowledge of the law, I came out almost unscathed. I have no hesitation in recommending Lisa Riley and Armstrong Legal if you need help. The service is amazing and the cost was very minimal for the great outcome. Thank you Lisa for helping me in the most difficult time.
I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. My whole life I was thrown away, you made me feel like I did mean something. I could not have asked for a better lawyer. Your compassion and love for your job is inspiring. Your upfront and honesty were muchly appreciated, you are a beautiful person. Thank you for not giving up on me and thank you for all the work you put in. I wish you all the best for the future and I will be recommending you to everyone I know. You're amazing!!!!
I just wanted to thank you for representing me on Monday, I was overjoyed & relieved with the outcome. I don’t think it could have gone any better. All the best, I hope you got to celebrate this one instead after work, you forever made a difference in my life.
I know I thanked you before we parted company but please allow me to reiterate in writing my sincere deepest thanks for defending me in court today. … Armstrong Legal certainly has a great Lawyer you are a credit to the company and I'm quite sure you will secure a very successful future! … My Kindest Regards and Thanks
Throughout Angela has been the consummate professional. She maintained a calm, yet strong demeanour remained informative and completely open in her communication and took complete ownership of the situation. We felt confident we finally had an advocate to steer us out of the nightmare we were in, and she did so with great respect and sincerity. I cannot speak more highly of Angela. She has literally rescued our family from what looked very much like a hopeless future.
Words can’t describe how grateful I am to Trudie Cameron being my solicitor and to Andrew Tiedt presenting my case in the court. They both have been very supportive and amazingly professional and effective. I’ve got an absolutely fantastic outcome I couldn’t even dream about.
Soon after meeting Andrew I knew he was the solicitor I wanted to handle my matter. He immediately sprang into action which brought me stability and hope during a tumultuous time in my life. Andrew was never afraid to give me straight answers to my tough questions which is a true mark of integrity. He is clearly at ease in the court environment and I believe his calm and measured demeanour went a long way to helping me secure the best result from my day in court. I would certainly recommend you approach Andrew if you need assistance.
"Andrew Tiedt was very professional and considerate to personal circumstances and gave sound advice that resulted in the best outcome possible. Highly recommended."
The Right to Silence (Vic)
When a person is questioned by police or others acting under the authority of the state, they have the right to silence. This means that they do not have to answers any questions where the answers may incriminate them. This is because the common law recognises the need to protect the freedom of individuals against the state. Subject to the exceptions provided below, a person may exercise the right to silence both at the time they are confronted by law enforcement and also by choosing not to give evidence in their defence when a matter proceeds to trial.
What is the right to silence?
The law provides that a person who is suspected of having been a party to a criminal offence is entitled to remain silent when questioned or asked for information by any person in authority about what occurred, the identity of the participants, and what roles they played.
A court cannot draw any adverse inferences from the fact that an accused exercised their right to silence by refusing to take part in a police interview or by choosing not to give evidence in court.
The privilege against self-incrimination
The privilege against self-incrimination is one of several legal privileges that may be relied on when a person seeks not to attend court in response to a summons or not to answer specific questions while giving evidence. The privilege against self-incrimination allows a defendant to resist a request for information that they would otherwise have to comply with.
The privilege may be relied on by any person, not only a person accused in a criminal investigation. When seeking to rely upon the privilege against self-incrimination, a person (other than the accused) may only rely upon this privilege in relation to specific questions posed to them on the grounds that the answers may incriminate them.
Legislative provisions on the right to silence
The right to silence is also protected by various provisions in Victorian legislation. These provisions serve to further ensure that an accused is protected from adverse inferences being drawn because they exercised their right to silence.
No adverse inferences
Under section 89 of the Evidence Act 2008 an unfavourable inference may not be drawn from evidence that an accused person failed or refused to answer one or more questions or respond to representations put to them by investigating officials who were investigating the commission of an offence.
Evidence of the above nature is inadmissible in court proceedings where it serves only to create an inference that the accused person is guilty based on their exercise of their right to silence.
Jury directions on the right to silence
When a person is being tried before a jury, the Jury Directions Act 2015 provides that when they have chosen not to give evidence, their lawyer may request that the judge provide a jury direction about the right to silence. The direction will inform the jury that:
- The failure of the defendant to give evidence cannot be considered an admission by the accused;
- The defence’s failure to call a witness may not be used as evidence against the accused and does not strengthen the prosecution case.
The court may also give a jury direction explaining that the onus in proving the case against the accused beyond a reasonable doubt lies with the prosecution, that the accused is not required to call any particular witnesses and that the jury ought not to speculate about what may have been contained in evidence that was not called by the defence.
The legislation also prevents any party making statements that suggest that because an accused did not give evidence they may be presumed to be guilty.
Application of privilege against self-incrimination
When information is requested from an accused, they may rely on the privilege against self-incrimination where providing the information would otherwise be compulsory.
This privilege is abrogated when an accused chooses to give evidence in their defence. The Crimes Act 1958 provides that, in the event that an accused chooses to testify in court, they will lose their right to claim privilege against self-incrimination. In other words, an accused who chooses to give evidence cannot claim privilege in order to avoid having to answer particular questions where the answers may incriminate them.
Sometimes a witness may want to claim privilege on the ground that the evidence they would give may show that they committed a criminal offence or are liable to a civil penalty in circumstances where the evidence is also relevant to whether they did an act or were of a particular state of mind relevant to the charges. In this situation, the parties may seek a direction from the court about whether there are reasonable grounds for the person to object to giving evidence. The judge may direct that the witness need not give evidence unless required to do so by the court. Where the court requires the evidence to be given, it may in some circumstances issue a certificate protecting the accused’s right against self-incrimination. The certificate is applicable only in the proceeding in which it is issued.
Exceptions to the right to silence
The Evidence Act 2008 provides that evidence may be given that the accused exercised their right to silence or failed to respond to a question posed to them where this is a fact in issue in the proceeding (section 89).
The Criminal Procedure Act 2009 contains some exceptions to the right to silence. These include pre-trial disclosure requirements and the requirement that a person provide their name and address when asked by the police or their driver’s licence when they are pulled over by police while driving.
If you require legal advice or representation in a criminal matter or in any other legal matter please contact Armstrong Legal.
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