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Being Street Smart

Sometimes getting into trouble can be easy. But getting out of trouble, well that's a bit more challenging. You might get into trouble with the police. What you do each step of the way can make all the difference to how things go down. Watch Cody and Sean's story to find out more. There is useful information in the links at the bottom of the page.

I know my rights: I think

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Sean:

Smell this mate – it's chronic.

Sean hands a bag of cannabis to his friend, who smells it. Two Police Officers walking past and spot them.

Sean:

Cops...Cops. They both stuff the cannabis away.

Police Officer 1:

Hi boys. What are you up to?

Sean:

Just chilling.

Police Officer 1:

What you got in the bag there, mate?

Sean:

Nothing.

Police Officer 1:

Mate, your eyes are all red and I just saw you put something in that bag.

Sean:

So..?

Police Officer 1:

Alright. My name is Constable Miles from Northern Districts Police. I have reasonable suspicion that you have illegal drugs on you because I just saw them in your hand and I saw you put it in the bag.

Sean:

Well that's just what you think, hey?

Police Officer 1:

I am asking you for your cooperation. So can you please stand up? – So I can search you.

Sean:

You can't touch us. We got rights.

Police Officer 1 [to Sean]:

What's your name?

Sean:

None of your business.

Police Officer 1 [to Cody]:

What's your name, mate?

Cody hesitates. Sean cuts in...

Sean:

Mickey Mouse.

Sean [to Cody]:

You don't have to tell them anything.

Police Officer 1 [to Cody]:

Do you have ID on you, mate?

Cody [Reaching into his pocket]:

Yeh.

Sean [to Cody]:

Don't show 'em anything.

Sean [to Police Officer]:

This is harassment.

Police Officer 1:

What's in that bag?

Sean:

Nothing.

Police Officer 1:

Hand me the bag.

Sean:

No.

The Police Officer reaches for the bag, Sean tries to snatch it closer to himself but the Police Officer retrieves it.

Police Officer 1:

Now is there anything in this bag that is going to spike?...Any sharps…any syringes...anything like that?

Sean:

No. No.

Police Officer 1:

Is there anything else in here...illegal that you'd like to tell me about?

Sean:

No.

Police Officer 1:

Sure?

[finding and holding up a sachet of cannabis] What about this?

Sean:

I dunno.

Police Officer 1:

Is it yours?

Sean:

I'm not saying anything.

Police Officer 1 looks at Police Officer 2 – who holds up a similar sachet found on Cody.

Police Officer 1:

Alright. You're both under arrest for possession of prohibited drug. We're going to walk up to the station. Station's up this way. Stand up and let's go.

Sean:

I'm not going anywhere.

Police Officer 1:

Mate, stand up and let's go.

Sean:

Not going anywhere.

The Police Officer moves to take Sean by the arm...

Police Officer 1:

Stand up...

Sean resists and there is a small melee involving Cody who tries to "keep Sean out of trouble".

Cody [to Sean]:

Don't make it worse.

Police Officer 1:

Against the wall mate...

The Police Officers restrain and handcuff the boys.

Police Officer 1:

Now you're under arrest for assault and resist.

Sean:

We've got rights!

Cody [Voice Over]:

Knowing your legal rights can help - but it's not enough... You need to think smart too!

Cody [Voice Over]:

Getting tangled up in the system - the cops, courts and criminal justice system - is a losing game. So wise up! What you do - now, and at each step of the way - can make all the difference to how things go down.

Background scenes are of Cody and Sean being let into the police station and in the holding cells. There is then a re-paly of the events leading up to them being arrested.

Police Officer 1:

I am asking for your cooperation. So can you please stand up? – So I can search you.

Sean:

You can't touch us. We got rights.

Cody [Voice Over]:

There are times when the Police do have the power to stop you and to search you. One of those times is if they have reasonable suspicion that you have drugs in your possession.

Police Officer 1 [to Cody]:

What's your name?

Sean:

Mickey Mouse.

Sean [to Cody]:

You don't have to tell them anything.

Cody [Voice Over]:

If you're ever in trouble with the police – you have the right to silence. This means that you do not have to answer the police questions.

Cody:

Cody Skinner.

Cody [Voice Over]:

In most situations you don't have to tell the police your name or address if you don't want to. But usually, it will help things get sorted much more quickly if you do.

Police Officer 1 [to Cody]:

Do you have any ID Cody?

Cody finds and ID card for the officer.

Police Officer 1:

Alright. You're both under arrest for possession of prohibited drugs. Alright I'm just going to walk you up to the station it's just up the road, let's go.

Cody:

What station are you from?

Police Officer 1:

Northern Districts Local Area Command.

Cody [Voice Over]:

You can ask for the Officer's name and what station they're from. This can sometimes be useful when you're telling someone later. Or want to make a complaint.

Cody:

I won't be saying anything until I speak with a lawyer.

Police Officer 1:

Yeh. That's fine. We can call one when we get to the station.

Police Officer 1 [to Sean]:

C'mon mate, let's go.

Sean:

I'm not going anywhere.

Police Officer 1:

Mate, stand up and let's go.

Sean:

Not going anywhere.

The Police Officer moves to take Sean by the arm...

Police Officer 1:

Stand up...

Sean resists and there is a small melee involving Cody who tries to "keep Sean out of trouble".

Cody [to Sean]:

Don't make it worse.

Police Officer 1:

Against the wall mate...

The Police Officers restrain and handcuff the boys.

Police Officer 1:

Now, you're under arrest for assault and resist.

Cody [Voice Over]:

Remember... "Think Smart". Don't make things worse by getting aggressive.

Sean is put into a cell. A Charge Sergeant and Officer 1 step the boys through the standard procedure on arrival.

Police Officer 1:

Mate, I need a support person for you. Who do you want us to call?

Sean:

Nobody.

Police Officer 1:

What about mum or dad?

Sean:

Nope.

Charge Sergeant:

We need to contact somebody for you mate.

Cody [Voice Over]:

If you're under 18 - you have to have a support person, who is an adult, with you.

Cody is in a cell. A Support Person arrives and sits with him.

Support Person [to Cody]:

Hi, is it ok if I come in and sit down?

Cody:

Sure.

Support Person:

Thanks. My name is Julianne. I'm going to be your support person today.

Cody [Voice Over]:

The police will phone someone for you. You can give them a name or a number of someone you know.

Support Person:

Has anyone told you what's going to happen next?

Cody shakes his head

Support Person:

Somebody's going to call the hotline for you – the Legal Aid Youth Hotline. You get to talk to a lawyer

Police Officer 1 [to Lawyer on the other end of the line]:

Yes, he is eligible for a caution.

Police hand the phone to Cody and leaves the room. The support person takes a seat next to Cody and listens as he speaks to the lawyer.

Cody [Voice Over]:

You should always take the opportunity to speak with a lawyer before choosing whether to talk to the police or not.

Cody [Voice Over]:

There is a legal hotline for young people. You can get a better understanding about whether or not you should talk to the police. It will depend on how much trouble you've been in before now and why you've been arrested this time around.

Hotline Lawyer:

So the police say they have arrested you because they searched you and found what they think is cannabis in your pocket. Now, I have spoken to the police...

Cody [on phone to lawyer]:

Yep.

Hotline Lawyer:

...and they are proposing to give you a caution. Now, a caution is a formal warning. And it's used to keep young people away from Court. If you don't want the caution, you can go to Court and argue your case in front of the Magistrate. My advice would be that you should take the caution. But it is your decision, Cody.

Cody [to lawyer]:

Yep. Fine. Cool. Thanks.

Cody [passing the phone to support person]:

Could you speak to them?

Support Person [to lawyer]

Sure.

Cody [to camera]:

A caution IS recorded in the police system and they can bring it up if you ever get in trouble again - or if you need a police check when applying for some jobs. But... I'm going to take the caution. This is as close as I wanna get to a magistrate.

Hotline Lawyer [to camera]:

In order to receive the caution, you will have to admit you committing the offence and agree to be interviewed about it. You don't need to discuss anything else.

Police Officer 1 [to Officer 2]:

Press record for me please.

Police Officer 2:

Recording.

Cody and his support person are sitting across a desk opposite the police officer.

Police Officer 1:

I am about to perform an electronically recorded interview with a young person – Cody Skinner. Before we begin Cody, I want to tell you that you do not have to say or do anything if you don't want to. Do you understand that?

Cody:

Yep.

Police Officer 1:

Anything you say or do will be recorded and can be used in court. Do you understand that?

Cody:

Yep.

Cody [Voice Over]:

The police will record what you say in the interview. And they can use the recording against you later in court.

Police Officer 1:

And you agree that when I searched you that I found a small amount of cannabis?

Cody:

Yep.

Cody [Voice Over]:

It can be stressful to be interviewed by the police and you might find yourself saying things that don't sound the way you meant them to.

Cody [to Police Officer 1]:

I'd rather not say.

Hotline Lawyer [Voice Over]:

Remember, you have the right to silence. And you should ONLY ever do an interview if you're being offered a Caution or a Youth Justice Conference under the Young Offenders Act. And ONLY after speaking to a lawyer on the Legal Aid Youth Hotline.

Once you've made those admissions and you've been processed by the police, you'll be free to go. But you will need to come back at a future date to the police station to receive the formal part of your caution. If you don't do that, you may go to court anyway.

Sean is waiting in a cell. Police Officer 2 approaches him.

Police Officer 2:

C'mon. You've got a phone call to Legal Aid. Let's go.

Police Officer 1:

It's Legal Aid.

Police officer hands the phone to Sean and leaves the room.

Sean:

Yeah?

Hotline Lawyer:

Okay, Sean. The police are telling me that you're currently on bail for another matter. So the police have decided to charge you... with possession of a prohibited substance. You will have to go to Court for those matters...

Sean:

What?!

Hotline Lawyer:

...but they have decided not to charge you with resisting arrest or assaulting police.

Sean:

What?! Last time I was in the lawyer got me a caution.

Hotline Lawyer:

According to their records, you already received a formal caution on three occasions.

Hotline Lawyer [Voice Over]:

Remember, cautions are limited. Under the Young Offenders Act you can only be cautioned on 3 occasions.

Sean [on phone to lawyer]:

Can you at least get me out of here?

Hotline Lawyer:

No. Because you've breached your bail, the police are not going to give you bail again. You'll be held in custody until you can be taken to court in the morning.

Sean:

What am I meant to do then?

Hotline Lawyer:

When you get to court, there will be a free Legal Aid lawyer there to advise you. But until then, I would advise you not to talk to anyone. Ok?

Hotline Lawyer [Voice Over]:

Police will want to interview you. But you don't have to do an interview. In fact, you don't even have to go into the interview room to tape your refusal. If the Police charge you - you will have to go to court. However, the Police might give you bail, and a Court Attendance Notice, which means you'll be free to go home but you WILL have to go to court on the date that's written in the Notice.

Hotline Lawyer [to camera]:

If the Police don't give you bail - you will be locked up overnight and taken to court the next day. This is what happened to Sean.

Magistrate:

Good morning Ms Jones. What are we here for today?

Legal Aid Lawyer:

Yes, Your Honour, we have a matter of a young person...

Hotline Lawyer [Voice Over]:

At court a Legal Aid lawyer will advise Sean about his options, but he has to decide for himself if he wants to plead guilty or not guilty. It's also Sean's decision if he wants to apply for bail.

Magistrate:

And what's your attitude to the application for bail Mr Prosecutor?

Police Prosecutor:

We're asking for bail to be refused due to his criminal record.

Magistrate:

Can I have a copy of that criminal record and of the facts sheets please?

Hotline Lawyer [Voice Over]:

The Police Prosecutor presents the fact sheet and the criminal record to the Magistrate. The Magistrate will listen to the Prosecutor and then to Sean's lawyer; and decide if Sean should be released on bail.

Sound of upbeat music

---END---

END NOTES:

This story and the characters in it are made up and not based on any actual people or their situation.

This video has been developed by Legal Aid NSW and all information provided is the responsibility of Legal Aid NSW.

Legal Aid NSW acknowledges the generous assistance of NSW Police in the creation of this video.

For more information about this video, visit www.bestforkids.org.au

The information in this video is a general guide to the law.

It should not be relied on as legal advice and it is recommended you talk to a lawyer about your particular situation.

At the time of production, the information show is correct but may be subject to change.

If you need legal help or referral, contact LawAccess NSW on 1300 88 529 or www.lawaccess.nsw.gov.au

In trouble with the police?

Under 18?

Youth Hotline 1800 10 18 10

Produced by eegenda

©Legal Aid NSW 2014

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