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Accused or Suspect ?

Started by admin, November 28, 2018, 10:49:43 PM

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Who is the accused and Who is the suspect in Turkish criminal law?

The suspect is the person being investigated due to the crime suspicion by Prosecution Office or law enforcement offices (police, gendarmerie) functioning under the auspices of the Prosecution Office. If a criminal case is brought against this person, he/she is named as an accused.

I have been informed thet I am a suspect of a crime. I have been called to police station or Prosecution Office? What should I do?

First of all, stay calm. Bear in mind that you are living in a state governed by the rule of law and human rights are protected by constitutional safeguards. After you inform your family and relatives, go to the relevant police station or Prosecution Office. It is for your interest to go there with your lawyer to enjoy legal councel.

I am testifying, What will happen?

Remember that you might be at the begining of the process as a result of which you can face a serious situation and you can be deprived of your freedom if your statement is being taken as a suspect. People and even public officers around you may tell you that "it is not important", "nothing can happen" or "the prosecutor can release you now" in order to appease you. Bear in mind that these expressions are wishes of courtesy. The things you states and do in the process in which you are can lead to irreversable results. The exercise of the rights to which you are given are under constitutional guarantee. Do not hesitate to exercise your rights.

What is the meaning of taking into custody?

It means detention of the person under crime suspicion by a public prosecutor or law enforcement offices (police, gendarmerie) functioning under the auspices of the Prosecution Office upon the order of the public prosecutor for interrogation. If the person taken into detention is not released, he/she shall be brought before the judge within 24 hours from the date on which apprehension warrant is issued. Duration necessary to send the apprehended person to the closest judge or court is not included in this duration. Due to the difficulty in collecting evidence and the number of the suspects in collectively committed crimes, the prosecutor can issue written order to extend the duration of detention to 3 days.

Do I have to testify?

No. You are entitled to exercise your right to remain silent. However you are obliged to give true answers to the questions regarding your identity. Otherwise you can face criminal sanctions and measures.

What if I lie?

It is in your intrest to express the truths as they are. However nobody can force you to do so. False testimony is a crime but false testimony of the accused is not prescribed as a crime. However given that criminal justice is based on discreation of the judges and it is left to the judges to apply mitigated reasons, you should bear in mind that you can have troubles in this sense if it is understood that you have lied.

Can I change my testimony?

As you have the right to remain silent, you have the right to change what you have testified before. However you should bear in mind that repeated change of testimony can be interpreted by prosecutors or judges as a sign to lie and to manipulate the facts.

Would I get lesser punishment if I explain the facts in a different way?

Somebody can recommend you to explain the facts in a different way. Sometimes it happens that there are those sentenced to heavier punishment than it requires, since they follow these recommendations to explain the facts in a different way. For instance, an accused charged with using drugs can be sentenced to more severe punishment after being classified as a drug dealer, since he/she explains the facts in a different way to clear her/himself. For this reason, if you are not able to judge the legal process and its outcomes, this sort of attitudes can give rise to negative results rather than positive ones.

Is it a requisite to hire a lawyer?

Criminal proceedings may result in something as a result of which you may be kept in prison and deprived of your freedom. It is of your high interest to have a lawyer. If you are a suspect charged with a crime whose minimum sanction is more than 5 years in prison, it is a must for you to have an attorney. If you are not in a positon to select a lawyer, state shall assign a lawyer for you. If you are under the age of 18 or you are dump or deaf and you have no lawyer, state shall assign a lawyer for you irrespective of the crime attributabed to you.

When shall I hire a lawyer?

There is a misconception that it is not necessary to have a lawyer at law enforcement and prosecution office level. For this reason, it is observed that attorney is hired only when there is an arrest decision. The earlier the lawyer is involved in the process, the better the rights of the suspect are protected. It is not true attitude to wait until you are taken in prison in order to understand the importance of the situation.

What is arrest?

A person against whom there is strong suspicion can be deprived of his/her freedom if there is a strong crime suspicion indicating that there is an attemp to escape or to destroy, hide or change evidence, or to exert pressure on witness, victim or other in order to keep the sound functioning of criminal proceedings as a measure. Arrest is not punishmet but measure. Arrested person shall be released from the moment when conditions for arrest no longer exist. The fact that a person is on trial as an arrested accused does not necessarly mean that he will be punished at the end of the trials. Likewise, the fact that a person is arrested does not necesarrily mean that he will not be punished.

I stand trial not being remanded in custody, meaning Im not to be sentenced

This perception is completely wrong. The number of those sentenced and sent to the prisons is quite high, though they are not remanded at the beginnig. The fact that you have not been remanded does not necessarily mean that you will not be sentenced to improsenment. Even if you are not arrested, you shall appear in trials and fulfil the requriments specified by the courts as early as possible.

What does relase mean?

In principle, proceedings are held without remanding the accused in the custody. However custody is decided where the above exceptional situations exist and there is a must for this purpose. The news in the media that persons are released in progress of judicial process are presented in a way capable of giving the impression that they have been acquitted. This is a mistake. Even if a person is not remanded, he/she is still an accused and under the threat of sanction. If he/she is found guilty, he/she shall be sentenced.

Prosecutor released me, m I acquitted now?

Prosecutor does not consider every single case as a case requiring arrest. Even though some cases are serious, reasons for arrest as specified in the law do not exist. The fact that the prosecutor does not refer you to courrt for arrest does not mean closure of the case. Unless there is a non-prosecution decision given about you, your status as a suspect continues. It is possible that you can be sentenced after being tried as an accused.

What is the meaning of non-prosecution decision?

Prosecutors are not obliged to initiate a case after every investigation. He/she measure the facts with his/her legal knowledge. He/she considers whether or not there is a crime, if yes, whether or not there is sufficient evidence to identify the suspect and a case shall be opened. Non-prosecution decision shows that the prosecutor does decide not to bring a case. It is possible to appeal this decision. Victim or those suffered from the offence can apply to closest Aggravated Penal Court to abolish the decision of the prosecutor to open a case against the person concerned. The decision given by the Aggravated Penal Court upon appeal is final. It is not possible to challenge this decision.

The case is opened, What happens now?

You will be tried as an accused if a case has been opened against you. The indictment prepared by the prosecutor contain the crime attributed to you and evidence indicating that you have committed the crime. You can present every facts refuting the evedence presented. You can request to bring the documents which public authorities hold. You can identify witnesses and request for their testimony. You can present the court questions to be asked to those who testify against you. Your testimony about progress of the facts is one of the important tool before the court. Since criminal justice is based on judicial discreation, your oral defence is important. However you can present the court your arguments and evidence in written as well. Your appearance before the court is very important. If you have a lawyer and it is difficult for you to attend every trial, you can request from the court to be immune from trial in order to abstain from attending the trials.