Right to Silence

Oral Answers to Questions — Northern Ireland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd November 1990.

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Photo of Mr Andrew Bennett Mr Andrew Bennett , Denton and Reddish 12:00 am, 22nd November 1990

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement about the removal of the right to silence.

Photo of Sir John Cope Sir John Cope , Northavon

The right of silence has not been removed in Northern Ireland.

Photo of Mr Andrew Bennett Mr Andrew Bennett , Denton and Reddish

I am sure that the Minister will agree that the use of the right to silence is not always an admission of guilt, as has been suggested. Is he aware that many of his hon. Friends did not want to declare how they voted during the week and that that was not necessarily an admission of guilt on their part? Will he ensure that the right to silence is not withdrawn in criminal proceedings in Northern Ireland?

Photo of Sir John Cope Sir John Cope , Northavon

All that we have done is to make sure that inferences can be drawn from silence in certain circumstances. That is as far as we have gone.