• Stephen Biss

What is a Statement?

A statement, confession, or admission is something said by the young person that is useful to the police or the Crown in the case against the young person or someone else in Court. In some way it may become "against the interests of the person who made the statement".

Police often cannot identify who committed a crime. Police may not know how many young persons were involved. Police may be looking for further evidence. Police may not know if you or your child was directly involved or simply an observer. Police probably don't know the whole story.

The Crown sometimes has a very weak case in the absence of a statement, but a much stronger case if there is an admissible statement. Juries often make up their minds quickly if there is a statement by the accused, confessing to a crime.

The problem is that a simple admission that you know anything about what happened, or that you were in the neighbourhood of the event, may be enough for the police to dig deeper and connect you as a participant in the crime, whether there was one or not. A simple admission that it was your car or that you drove to the location may be very helpful to the prosecution.

If you have been arrested, the police will probably want to speak to you about what happened. Their purpose is not simply to "hear your side of the story" so that your version will exculpate you (your desire to prove you are innocent). Their purposes include:

1. Gathering evidence against you.

2. Gathering evidence against other persons.

3. Gathering information from you that they know will contradict what you will say in Court.

4. Finding unknown pieces in the puzzle, including a missing weapon or other evidence.

5. Finding out what other crimes you're connected with.

6. Finding out what old crimes you've committed or been close to the scene of.

7. Getting reasons to search your house or cell phone.

With a few exceptions, every Canadian has the right to decide whether they want to talk to the police or not. Police aren't supposed to be able to force anyone to talk if they don't want to. You can simply remain silent, identify yourself, and get legal advice whenever you can. This applies whether ultimately you are an accused or a witness.

A statement can include an oral utterance at roadside, a gesture (a nod), a written document (signed or unsigned), or a statement on video. Unfortunately there is rarely an audio or video recording at roadside and so the only version reduced to paper is the police version of what you said, recorded in the officer's notebook. Written statements, particularly those done in the back of a police car, may not be complete. Video statements are safer, if you say anything at all.

When a statement is given, you may not be at your best. You might have alcohol or drugs in your body, you might be traumatized by an incident, you might be angry, you might be injured, and you may be terribly frightened. You may feel victimized. It's not a good time to tell your side of the story.

If you are going to tell your side of the story, the only safe place to do it is face-to-face with a lawyer in a lawyer's office. That is the only situation in which the conversation is truly confidential. Statements to parents, psychologists, teachers, and priests can all be used against the young person in Court.

#confession #statement #police


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Stephen R. Biss

Barrister & Solicitor

303-470 Hensall Circle

Mississauga, ON

L5A 3V4


Youth Courts We Cover

We represent young persons at all GTA Youth Court Courthouses including Brampton, Milton, Orangeville, Guelph, and Toronto.

​© Copyright 2018 Stephen R. Biss, Barrister & Solicitor

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