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What Happens After Someone Is Arrested In Singapore?


The Police and various law enforcement agencies conduct criminal investigations in Singapore. Examples of such law enforcement agencies are the Central Narcotic Bureau, the Corruption Practices Investigation Bureau, etc.

You may be asked to give a statement to the Police, whether or not you have been arrested. When making a statement, you should note the following: -
  • Your statement will be usually written in English. If you cannot understand English, you should tell the Police as soon as possible and you will be interviewed in a language that you can understand.
  • You are required to tell the truth, but you do not have to say anything that might expose you to a criminal charge.
  • If you have any defence that shows that you are innocent, you should tell the Police and make sure that it is reflected in your written statement. If not, it would be deemed as being raised for the first time in Court and the Judge may be less likely to believe it.
  • After giving your statement, read it carefully before signing it. Ensure that it records accurately what you told the Police. You have the right to amend the statement so long as you have not signed it.
When you have been arrested and detained, you may do the following: -
  • Request to make a call to your family or a lawyer telling them of your arrest
  • Request visits by your family or lawyer
  • Request to consult a lawyer of your choice
  • You should ask for each of these requests to be recorded.
You may also do the following when you have been detained: -
  • Request for food, drinks and toilet breaks
  • Request to see a doctor if you are unwell
  • Ask for each request to be recorded
When you are to be charged with an offence, a statement called a “cautioned statement” would be recorded from you. Take note of the following: -
  • The Police must read to you a notice in writing which will inform you of the charge that you are going to be prosecuted with
  • You will be cautioned that if you wish to raise any facts in your defence at this stage, you should do it now. If not, when this fact is only raised in Court for the first time, the Judge may not believe it
  • If you want to say anything, it will be written down and read back to you in a language you understand, and you are to sign it
  • A copy of the charge and the cautioned statement will be given to you
Prosecution
Within 48h of your arrest, the police have to either bring you to court or release you (on bail, or unconditionally).

When you go to Court, the Prosecutor may apply to detain you for 48 more hours. But he could only do so if he can give the Court reasons why the Police require more than 48h. You may object to this request. The Court has the final say for whether the Police can detain you for a period longer than 48h. You can also ask the Court for permission to contact your family/lawyer. If you feel that you have been mistreated at time of arrest/investigation, you can inform the Court. This means that even if you disagree with the statement that you signed, or that the Police made some promise to you about your charge or sentence, you should inform the Court.

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