are the publishers of:

Silence and Guilt
An Assessment of Case Law on the Criminal
Justice and Public Order Act 1994
by David Wolchover


ISBN 0-9540254-0-7
247 pages
Price 23.50 in UK

Subject matter

The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 has generated a mass of case learning on the evidential implications of the silence of the accused in the police station and at trial. Now that the torrent of litigation has slowed to a trickle the time is due for a thoroughgoing assessment of its impact. Uniquely, Silence and Guilt , furnishes such a text, reviewing the case law in detail against an historical background and a study of the issues involved in the debate which foreshadowed the Act. The work seeks to achieve an encylopaedic dimension by tapping into a wealth of academic treatments of the subject but its immediate practical impact lies in the vital strategies it contains for the successful defence of those suspects who elect to stand upon their silence.

The contents include :

  • Historical background to questioning of the accused and resistance to compulsory interrogation
  • The right to silence
  • Issues in the debate on whether silence should count as incriminatory
  • The nature of silence
  • Inferential routes to guilt
  • Pre-1994 law on tacit admissions and failure at the investigative stage to mention facts relied on at trial
  • Case law on the application of section 34 (failure to mention)
  • Review of Condron, Argent, Condron v UK, Mountford, Hearne and a host of other decisions
  • Impact of legal advice to say nothing
  • Judicial marginalising of section 34
  • Cautions on arrest and in interview
  • Special warnings
  • Silence at trial
  • Potential impact of the Human Rights Act 1998

About the author

David Wolchover has practised at the criminal bar since his call by Gray's Inn in 1971. Former Head of Chambers at 7 Bell Yard, he is an acknowledged authority on PACE, has contributed a host of articles on criminal evidence and procedure to a variety of legal journals and is the author of several full-length texts: The Exclusion of Improperly Obtained Evidence (Barry Rose Publishers, Chichester 1986, ISBN 0-85992-380-0); Wolchover and Heaton-Armstrong on Confession Evidence (lead author; Sweet and Maxwell,1996, ISBN 0 421 54710 3; 734 pages); Bail in Criminal Proceedings (co-author with Neil Corre;Blackstone Press 1999;ISBN 1-85431-921-3); Analysing Witness Testimony (contributing co-editor; Blackstone Press, 1999; ISBN 1-85431-731-8); and Witness Testimony: Psychological, Investigative and Evidential Perspectives (Oxford: OUP, 2006)

What some of the reviews have said:-

  • " Compulsive and enlightening reading . . . with some clear answers by an author deservedly well known to criminal lawyers" --- ROGER EDE , The Law Society's Criminal Practitioner's Newletter , No. 45, June 2001 .
  • " Dynamic . . . thought-provoking . . . well constructed . . . logical and comprehensive analysis of the multitude of interpretive questions . . . wide-ranging reference to academic comment . . . extremely useful to practitioners and academic alike" --- New Law Journal , October 12, 2002.
  • " No detail omitted . . ." --- Journal of the Criminal Law Solicitors' Association, Summer 2001
  • " Very comprehensive . . . substantial research . . . very useful repository of authorities, articles and statements on this important subject . . . which any practising criminal lawyer would be pleased to possess and use on a regular basis" --- Journal of the Justices' Clerks' Society , Issue 175, September 2001
  • " It will prove to be of great value to defence lawyers particularly at the pre-trial stage. . . . by design, no alphabetical index. The publishers hope that the detailed contents list will suffice - the index was not missed . . . aimed primarily at the working criminal defence lawyer . . . it will find its way into many a call-out stand by bag. . . . Justices' clerks may well wish to have it on their bookshelves in the event that the standard textbooks do not cover a point in sufficient detail." --- Magistrate , vol. 57, No. 10, Winter 2001
  • " [This study] exposes the falsity of government claims that [the 1994 Act] was a resource-neutral measure which would simply remove an impediment to the exercise of common sense in the reaching of verdicts . . . Wolchover is not much interested in the alarmist rhetoric in which debates about the right to silence are traditionally conducted, nevertheless the analytical and interpretive skills which he brings to his material permit an alarming picture to emerge. . . . This book will certainly become a vital legal tool for lawyers on both sides of the adversarial divide and will also be valued by defence lawyers for its tactical advice. In some areas it performs an important function in advancing and clarifying the law. Take for instance the discussion of silence on legal advice. Received wisdom has been that there is virtually a presumption that inferences will be drawn against the defendant in these circumstances unless he or she is prepared to waive legal privilege and offer their lawyer as a witness to explain precisely why the advice was given. By careful examination of the authorities Wolchover debunks this view and wisely advises not to give reasons for legal advice and to leave the jury to choose between a perfectly feasible explanation (the defendant simply followed advice), and barren speculation about possible inculpatory explanations for silence (he hadn't made up his story yet). . . . This is by far the best analysis of the silence legislation available. It will be hugely influential amongst criminal practitioners and, although the book itself has no overarching thesis, it will be an invaluable source for those who seek to understand the fundamental change in the criminal process brought about in 1994." --- ROGER LENG, The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice , vol. 41, No. 2, May 2002

Ordering copies

  • Orders may be placed by posting to 6 The Ridgeway, Golders Green, London NW11 8TB, UK, a cheque for 25.50 (to cover the cost of carriage) made out to David Wolchover.
  • Orders may also be placed by E-mail to

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David’s professional address:
Ridgeway Chambers

General Council of the Bar of England and Wales Chambers Number 6473, 4 & 6 The Ridgeway - Golders Green - London - NW11 8TB - United Kingdom

David Wolchover's e-mail address is:
+44 (0)20 8455 2939
+44 (0)7877 817138