to section 60 of the Supreme Court of Judicature Act -
Chapter 82 of the Laws of Belize: "JUDGES' RULES:
BEING GUIDELINES FOR THE INTERVIEWING OF PERSONS AND OBTAINING
STATEMENTS FROM THEM WHILE IN POLICE CUSTODY."
| Rule 1.1
a police officer is trying to discover whether, or by
whom an offence has been committed he is entitled to
question any person, whether suspected of not, from
whom he thinks that useful information may be obtained.
The police office can do this whether or not the person
has been taken into custody provided he has not been
charged with the offence or informed that he may be
prosecuted for it.
person whom there are grounds to suspect of an offence
must be cautioned before any questions about it (or further
questions if it is his answers to previous questions that
provide grounds for suspicion) are put to him for the
purpose of obtaining evidence which may be given to a
court in a prosecution. The person need not be cautioned
if questions are put to him for other purposes, for example,
to establish his identity, or the ownership of any vehicle
or the need to search him in the exercise of powers of
stop and search.
a police officer has arrested or detained a person he
should promptly inform the person of the reasons for his
arrest and detention, and in any case, he must do so no
later than 48 hours after such arrest and detention.
a police officer has arrested or detained a person, he
must immediately inform that person that he is entitled
to speak privately with an instruct a lawyer or, if the
person is a minor, to speak with his parents or guardians.
person must be cautioned upon arrest for an offence unless(a)
it is impracticable to do so by reason of his condition
or behavior at the time, or(b) he has already been cautioned
immediately prior to arrest in accordance with paragraph
caution shall be in the following terms: "You do not have
to say anything unless you wish to do so, but what you
say may be taken down in writing and given in evidence."
a police officer has made up his mind to charge a person
with a crime, he should first caution that person before
asking him any questions or any further questions as the
case may be.
a person is formally charged with an offence, the following
caution shall be given to him:
you wish to say anything in answer to the charge? You
are not obliged to say anything unless you wish to do
so, but whatever you say will be taken down in writing
and may be given in evidence."
should be taken to avoid suggestion or impression that
his answers can only be used in evidence against him,
as this may prevent an innocent person from making a
statement, which might assist to clear him of the charge.
a person in custody wishes to volunteer any statement,
the usual caution should be administered.
person in custody making a voluntary statement must not
be cross-examines on it, and no question should be put
to him about it except for the purpose of clarifying ambiguity
about what he has actually said. For instance, if he has
mentioned an hour of the day without saying whether it
was morning or evening, or has given a day of the week
and a day of the month which do not agree, or has not
made it clear to what individual or what place he intend
to refer in some part of his statement, he may be questioned
to clear up the point.
person in custody should not be questioned without the
usual caution stated in Rule 5 above being administered
a person in custody makes a statement before the usual
caution is administered, the caution should be administered
immediately thereafter before any further statement is
taken from that person and the police officer shall certify
on the statement the circumstances of its making.
after being cautioned, a person wishes to write down
his statement himself, he should always be permitted
to do so, in which case he shall be asked to write out
and sign before writing what he wants to say, the following:
make this statement of my own free will, I understand
that I need not say anything unless I wish to do so
and that what I say may be given in evidence."
person writing his own statement shall be allowed to
do so without any prompting.
he has finished the statement, the person making it should
be asked to sign it.
a person says that he would like someone to write his
statement for him, a police officer shall write the
statement, but before starting he must ask the person
to sign or make his mark, to the following:
...., wish to make a statement. I want someone to write
down what I say. I understand that I need not say anything
unless I wish to do so and that what I say may be given
a police officer writes the statement he must take down
the exact words spoken by the person making it and he
must not edit or paraphrase it. Any questions that are
necessary (for example to make it more intelligible)
and the answers give must be recorded contemporaneously
on the statement form.
the writing of a statement by a police officer is finished,
the person making the statement shall be asked to read
it and to make corrections, alterations or additions
he wishes. When he has finished reading he shall be
asked to write and sign or make his mark on the following
certificate at the end of the statement:
have read the above statement, and I have been able
to correct, alter or add anything I wish. This statement
is true. I have made it of my own free will."
the person making the statement cannot read, or refuses
to read it, or to write the above-mentioned certificate
at the end of it or to sign it, the senior police officer
present shall read it over to him and ask him whether
he would like to correct, alter or add anything and
to put his signature or make his mark at the end. The
police officer shall then certify on the statement itself
in the presence of the person what has occurred.
| Rule 10:
at any time after a person has been charged with or
informed that he may be prosecuted for an offence a
police officer wishes to bring to the notice of that
person any statement made by another person of the content
of an interview with another person, he shall hand to
that person a true copy of any such statement or bring
to his attention the content of the interview record,
but shall say or do nothing to invite any reply. If
the person charged wishes to make a statement in reply,
the usual caution should be administered.
in making a statement a person uses Creole, he should
be encouraged to give it in ordinary English. If he
insists on giving it in Creole the police officer recording
the statement should check with him the meaning of what
he says in ordinary English and record it in ordinary
the person making the statement in Creole does not understand
ordinary English the police officer should record as
accurately as possible in ordinary English what he understands
the person making the statement to be saying, and later
should state the circumstances when giving evidence.
the person making a statement makes it in a language
other than English, the practice should be as follows
whenever it is practicable the statement should be written
in the language spoken by the person making it;
(b) if it is not practicable to write the statement
in the language spoken by the person making the statement,
it should be written in the English language;
(c) after the completion of the statement it should
be read back to the person making it in the language
in which it was made; and the person making it should
be invited to make any corrections he may wish and to
sign it. Corrections should be written at the end of
(d) if the person who has made the statement refuses
to sign it, the senior police officer present should
record on the statement itself, and in the presence
of the person making it, what happened, and should sign
what he has written.
the person making a written statement makes it in a
language other than English, the following shall apply:
whenever it is practicable the statement itself, all
corrections, additions, or alterations thereto, any
permissible questions and the answers thereto and all
declarations and the Certificates should be written
in the language spoken by the person making the statement;
(b) if it is not practicable to write the same in the
language spoken by the person making the statement,
they should be written in the English language;
(c) when the statement is written by the person making
it any permissible questions and the answers thereto
should be written on the statement by the interpreter
(whether he be a Police Officer or otherwise) and where
a statement is not written by the person making it,
the statement, any permissible questions and answers
and all corrections, additions and alterations thereto
should be written by the interpreter;
(d) after the completion of a statement written by the
interpreter, if the person who has made it is unable
or unwilling to read it, the interpreter should read
it over to him in the language in which it was given;
likewise all questions put and the answers thereto and
all corrections additions and alterations;
(e) an interpreter present when a statement is given
should certify on the statement itself what he has done,
and where the statement is recorded in English, he should
certify on the statement the reason why it was not recorded
in the language in which it was spoken. He should sign
any such certificate.
a police officer has arrested or detained a person,
that person shall be brought before a court without
unnecessary delay, and in any case not later than seventy-two
hours after such arrest or detention.
other than police officers charged with the duty of
investigating offences, or charging offenders shall,
so far as may be practicable, comply with these Rules.
to comply substantially with the provisions of these rules
may result in a statement made by an accused person or
person who subsequently becomes an accused person not
being admitted in evidence.
rules of practice known as the "Old Judges' Rules"
or by whatever name called intended to regulate matters
provided for in these Rules shall no longer apply in Belize
after the coming into effect of these Rules