Friday, May 20, 2005

Appropriate Adults

Appropriate adults are a vital part to any Police Station case where the Client is a youth. When I receive a call from a Police Station telling me a youth is in custody and is to be interviewed I always ask if there is an appropriate adult at the Police Station already, or if one is on their way. My heart often sinks when I am told that the Police are trying to find an appropriate adult. Sometimes a battle will start between the Solicitor and the Appropriate Adult in that both will refuse to attend at the Police Station until the other has arrived first. I do not play these games as I get to the Police Station when I can to deal with the Client. You can often make progress with a case involving a youth without an appropriate adult until you reach the point when they must be interviewed.

I received a call last night about a Client who was a youth and who was at the Police Station. I was able to discuss the matter over the phone with the Officer in the case and he said that an appropriate adult would be at the Police Station at a certain time and he asked me to attend at that time also. I arrived on time to find that the appropriate adult was not there and was now refusing to come to the Police Station. Due to the late hour of the evening (or early hour of the morning) there was no prospect of finding another appropriate adult so the Police decided it was an appropriate time for my Client to enter a sleep period!

I have a lot of respect for the people who volunteer their own time to serve on volunteer appropriate adult schemes - I find that these appropriate adults will usually do their utmost to get the case moving to get the Client out of the Police Station. What I really dislike are the appropriate adults who just do not care and will not inconvenience themselves for the benefit of the youth.

My saga with the appropriate adult resulted in my Client remaining in custody for nearly 18 hours until an appropriate adult was eventually found. 18 Hours is quite unacceptable for a youth to remain in custody at the Police Station for a minor criminal damage matter.

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