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The Criminal Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1988

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Inferences from failure or refusal to account for objects, marks, etc.

5.—(1) Where—

(a)a person is arrested by a constable, and there is—

(i)on his person; or

(ii)in or on his clothing or footwear; or

(iii)otherwise in his possession; or

(iv)in any place in which he is at the time of his arrest,

any object, substance or mark, or there is any mark on any such object; and

(b)the constable reasonably believes that the presence of the object, substance or mark may be attributable to the participation of the person arrested in the commission of an offence specified by the constable; and

(c)the constable informs the person arrested that he so believes, and requests him to account for the presence of the object, substance or mark; and

(d)the person fails or refuses to do so,

then if, in any proceedings against the person for the offence so specified, evidence of those matters is given, paragraph (2) applies.

(2) Where this paragraph applies—

(a)the court, in determining whether to commit the accused for trial or whether there is a case to answer; and

(b)the court or jury, in determining whether the accused is guilty of the offence charged,

may—

(i)draw such inferences from the failure or refusal as appear proper;

(ii)on the basis of such inferences, treat the failure or refusal as, or as capable of amounting to, corroboration of any evidence given against the accused in relation to which the failure or refusal is material.

(3) Paragraphs (1) and (2) apply to the condition of clothing or footwear as they apply to a substance or mark thereon.

(4) Paragraphs (1) and (2) do not apply unless the accused was told in ordinary language by the constable when making the request mentioned in paragraph (1)(c) what the effect of this Article would be if he failed or refused to comply with the request.

(5) This Article does not preclude the drawing of any inference from a failure or refusal to account for the presence of an object, substance or mark or from the condition of clothing or footwear which could properly be drawn apart from this Article.

(6) This Article does not apply in relation to a failure or refusal which occurred before the commencement of this Article.

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