WHEN DOES INVESTIGATION BEGIN?
Investigation begins the moment you are arrested and before a charge is brought against you, in order to determine if there is any or enough evidence which can sustain the charge.
WHO CAN INVESTIGATE YOU?
- Police officers
- Drug enforcement officers
- Anti-corruption agency officers
- Custom officers
WILL YOU BE ARRESTED OR DETAINED DURING INVESTIGATION?
Any person who has been accused or connected with or suspected of committing an offence may be arrested by police. Where a seizable offence e.g. murder, robbery or theft is suspected to have been committed, a police officer may arrest the offender with or without warrant or order from the Public Prosecutor in the course of investigation.
After your arrest, you cannot be kept indefinitely in police custody pending police investigation. You must be brought before a Magistrate within 24 hours of the arrest or where the police need more time for their investigation, they must produce you before a Magistrate to request permission to detain you further for a term not exceeding 15 days in a whole.
Where further detention is unnecessary, you may be released on bail to ensure your appearance in Court at an appointed date. Bail, however, is not available in certain cases e.g. if you are charged with murder or drugs trafficking.
The police may also detain you up to 60 days on suspicion upon Ministerial satisfaction that you may be subject fit and proper to be detained under the authority of the Minister for up to usually 2 years each time. This is known as preventive detention. The laws that allow for prevention detention are the Internal Security Act, 1960, the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985 and the Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance, 1969.
ARE YOU OBLIGED TO ANSWER POLICE QUESTIONS?
Where you have not be been arrested but only called by the police for questioning, you are bound to state the truth and answer all questions put to you by the police investigating officers except those which have a tendency to expose you to a criminal charge, penalty or forfeiture (right from self-incrimination). Before recording your statement the police officer will have to explain to you your right from self-incrimination.
WHAT SEARCH POWERS DO THE POLICE HAVE?
Persons having the power to arrest may search any place entered by the person sought to be arrested and may effect an entrance by force if refused entry. An arrested person may be searched and any articles found which are reasonably believed to be evidence of the crime may be detained until his release. Any offensive weapon found on the arrested person may be seized. A person in lawful custody who is unable to give a reasonable account of himself due to incapacity may be searched to ascertain his name and address.
FOR HOW LONG CAN A PERSON REMAIN IN POLICE CUSTODY?
A police officer who has taken a person into police custody must be brought before a Magistrate without unnecessary delay. Police detention of the arrested person must not exceed 24 hours (excluding the time taken for the journey from the place of arrest to the Magistrate Court) unless a remand order had earlier been obtained. Any violence used by a police officer to a person in his custody is a punishable offence. Any person who escapes from lawful custody may be pursued and arrested by the person from whose custody he fled.
Extracted from The Malaysian Bar