Anyone who has seenThe Wire will know the day to day difficulties of dealing in drugs. Once, I was instructed by a client who was arrested for selling heroin just four days after he arrived in the country. There was cast iron evidence of him selling drugs to two undercover policemen. The police had achieved a result which could usually take a whole season or at least 2 episodes of The Wire.
This was part of a police operation in a drug hotspot. The police had set up cameras in strategic places to record the drug sales.
My client told me that he had been brought from Nigeria to sell heroin. If true, the local criminals had “outsourced” the solution to the police crackdown by importing my client and others like him to carry the can; thus allowing the local criminals to get on with their other felonious little plans.
The police rather than feeling suckered seemed delighted by the guilty pleas and prison sentences resulting from the strong evidence.
Police and other regulators, if left to their own devices, tend to choose the “low hanging fruit” to quickly produce statistics and avoid anything too hard e.g. shoplifting rather than fraud, speed cameras rather than anti-social behaviour. Often it depends on the strength of evidence or if the suspect admits to the offence.
So, when you are being investigated e.g. turning right at a no right turn, admitting your guilt is more likely to result in a prosecution rather than you being let off. This may not apply if you are an attractive, possibly tearful, young thing but if you too inhabit the world of the bald-headed, overweight and middle aged as we lawyers do, then certainly it is best to follow the advice of Ronan Keating and say nothing at all.
(c) Paul Brennan is a business and property lawyer on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. Both "Deals and disputes".