AGC urged to review allowance of access to counsel for accused

National 1 minute, 14 seconds


THE two alleged cases of suspects committing suicide while in police custody last year was questioned by the president of the Law Society who called for the establishment of a right of a detained person to have access to legal counsel and representation when the person is first detained to avoid such mishaps from occurring in the future.

In his speech at the opening of Legal Year 2016, Mohd Rozaiman DSLJ Abd Rahman, said that it was only reasonable for everyone to question how this could have happened to the individuals - who were innocent until proven guilty - in police stations which should have been a safe place.

“If the accused had been allowed the right to have access to legal counsel, these ill-fated incidents may not have happened,” he said.

“We strongly suggest for the Attorney-General to either consider amending the Criminal Procedure Code or provide alternative solutions to allow accused persons the right to have access to counsel for legal advice and representation when they are detained,” he said.

Currently, the Criminal Procedure Code governing how criminal proceedings are conducted allows for a person to be detained for 48 hours before the accused is either released or charged in court.

It does not give the accused the right to seek legal counsel within that 48 hours.

“It is vital for an accused to understand why he or she is being investigated and what rights the person has in that important 48 hours,” he said.

The Brunei Times