In this paper, the author traces the historical evolution of the use of methods by the police and the executive to undermine the protective effects of the right to silence. He argues that the introduction of greater protections for accused persons in the provisions of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 has resulted in an increase in costs of the administration of summary jurisdiction with the commensurate reduction in the numbers of persons being convicted. Hence political initiatives are being undertaken to find an effective way to remove the effects of the right to silence, contained in these protections. He examines the effects of the so‐called s. 2 powers to compel answers to questions, possessed by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO). The paper ends by examining the proposals in the recent Report of the Royal Commission on Criminal Justice and argues that the recommendation to extend the exercise of s. 2 powers to the police is merely another step towards the introduction of an increasingly authoritarian regime of criminal justice.
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