Some defendants fear that exercising the right to remain silent will be perceived as an admission of guilt. Don’t we often hear:“Only those who have something to reproach keep silent“…
But in real life, it’s just the opposite!
Especially in a system where it is the prosecution’s responsibility to prove guilt, and any word the defendant says will inevitably be interpreted, extrapolated and used against him.
In the Canton of Solothurn, a court of first instance has just demonstrated this.
A father is charged with the homicide of his baby, who died of shaken baby syndrome.
Expert reports seem to establish this cause of death, but no direct evidence exists against the father.
During the proceedings and at his trial he will use his right to remain silent.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office eventually requested 16 and a half years in prison for murder.
But the Court follows the defense and acquits in application of the principle that doubt benefits the accused(in dubio pro reo).
Indeed here, impossible to establish with precision the facts and the implication of the father, and this notwithstanding a long investigation which had seen the implementation of methods of secret investigation hallucinating going until the installation of microphones in the bedroom of the parents to try to trap them and to circumvent their choice to make use of their right not to be self-incriminating…
So, do you speak up because you know you have nothing to reproach yourself with and risk 16 and a half years in prison or do you keep quiet because you have nothing to reproach yourself with or because you simply have the right to do so?
Place your bets!
The article, in German, here and a big Bravo to the defense provided by our colleague Me Eveline Roos!