Shut the F*$k UP! Great Advice from the Pot Brothers

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Shut the F*$k UP! Great Advice from the Pot Brothers

right to silence: shut the F*#k up

Sometimes great legal advice doesn't need to be eloquent or sophisticated.  Yes, sometimes blunt -- perhaps even a little crude -- is better. In this case, hilarious is best. Here is the advice from America's Pot Brothers: "Shut the F$%k UP".  Indeed, this is probably the best one minute legal tip of the day. 

section 7 of the canadian charter oF rights and freedoms

Did you know that section 10 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms stipulates that all persons, on detention or arrest, have the right to retain and instruct counsel without delay?  This right is intimately connected with the section 7 "right to silence". The "right to silence" can be easily summarized as "Shut the F*$k UP".  If you have been arrested by the police you have a right to silence and your silence cannot be used be used against you. So don't talk.

Remarkably, keeping quite is one of the simplest, yet at the same time, most difficult things for detainees to do.  I have been a criminal defence lawyer in Calgary for a long time, and am constantly surprised that no matter how insistent and clear I am in my legal instructions, people still have trouble remaining silent.  Yes, they just can't "shut the f*#k up".

Over the years I have developed a detailed instruction to clients about the right silence.  This instruction can be distilled as follows:

  1. You have a right to silence.
  2. The State cannot use your silence against you in a criminal proceeding.
  3. Police are trained to breakdown the right to silence. They are trained interrogators. 
  4. The simplest way to frustrate police efforts to get you talking is to SAY NOTHING or to speak one sentence ONLY: "I have been instructed by my lawyer not to speak to you".  If the police make you feel guilty about remaining silent, just blame your lawyer.
  5. In every case where I instruct a person to "shut the f*$k up", I have determined that there is no benefit to speaking to the police. To that end, I instruct clients that in law, an exculpatory statement (or a statement of innocence) is considered "self serving" and thus is the exclusive property of the Crown. This means that even if a detainee gives a perfect statement of innocence, only the Crown can choose to exhibit this statement in evidence. Of course, if it's of innocence, they simply won't lead it in evidence. On the other hand, the Crown can potentially use the statement to cross-examine at trial or if it is a statement of guilt, potentially introduce it into evidence. Any statement can arm the Crown with a powerful tool for cross-examination (should an accused testify). Worse, a confession is a powerful indicator of guilt.
  6. Accordingly, there is seldom any benefit to speaking to the police.
  7. Finally, a detainee should never decide to pick and choose what information he or she will divulge. The reason is, until full disclosure is provided, nobody knows what evidence is critical to the Crown's case. For instance, consider the example offered by the Pot Brothers about people making statements during raids of marijuana dispensaries.  The person who "shuts the f*#k up" has a better chance of successfully defending the case.

Never think you can outsmart the police. Remember, they are trained to interrogate and likely have evidence that they intend to use against you.  Again, you likely have no idea about all of the evidence that is important to the case and thus likely have no idea about the evidentiary connections that can be drawn between your statements and the evidence capable of proving the case beyond a reasonable doubt. 

My advice: exercise your right to remain silent.  Exercise your right to counsel. Consult with an experienced and qualified criminal lawyer in Calgary or in the jurisdiction you are in. Follow that lawyer's advice.

consult with a qualified calgary criminal lawyer

If you have been arrested by the police, call a defence lawyer for legal advice.  I recommend that you contact the right lawyer.  The police will likely point you to a "1-800" number.  For reasons to be discussed in another blog at a later time, I recommend that if possible you avoid using this 1-800 service.  

Charged in Calgary?  There are many qualified Calgary criminal lawyers who can help.  You are not required to use the 1-800 number.  Don't just accept any advice; call a qualified Calgary defence lawyer and immediately begin defending yourself.  Many Calgary defence lawyers offer a free telephone consultation.

David Chow can be reached at 403.452.8018.  David is a full service criminal defence lawyer who defends cases throughout Alberta.   

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