Page 6 - If-you-are-suspected-of-a-criminal-offence
P. 6

If you are suspected of a criminal offence

            You also have certain rights while in custody. You are, for example, entitled to an
            outdoor exercise period at least twice a day (provided the police station at which
            you are being held has suitable facilities). You are also entitled to order food to
            be brought in from outside (at your own expense). Subject to certain restrictions,
            you and your lawyer are entitled to see all documents relating to the case. If you
            are a foreign national, you are entitled to have your embassy or consulate
            informed of your arrest. (Note that this does not happen automatically: you must
            expressly request the police to contact the embassy on your behalf). In most
            cases, you are entitled to a visit from a consular official if you wish.

       Appearance before the Officer of Justice

            Following the permitted period of police custody, you will be required to
            appear before the Officer of Justice. He will have received the dossier on your
            case from the police, and therefore knows the details of the alleged offence
            and what you have said during questioning. He will also have any witness
            statements and details of any (forensic) evidence which exists. If the Probation
            Service has produced a report, the Officer will have this at his disposal. He will
            also know about any previous arrests and/or convictions you may have. During
            this appearance, the Officer of Justice will question you further about the exact
            circumstances of the alleged offence.

       What happens next?

            Following this appearance, there are two possibilities:
            •  The Officer of Justice considers it unnecessary for you to be detained any
              longer and you will be released. However, this is not necessarily the end of
              the matter: you may still face prosecution. If the Officer of Justice decides to
              take the matter to court, you will receive a summons, either before you leave
              the office or later by post. (See: ‘Prosecution’, page 10.)
            •  The Officer of Justice considers it appropriate for you to be held ‘in detention’.
              He will then request the examining judge to issue the necessary order. Before
              doing so, the examining judge will wish to interview you (in the presence of
              your lawyer if you wish). You then have the opportunity to state your side of
              the story.

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