Suella Braverman confirms evidence from witnesses will not be used to prosecute them over fire
The inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire will begin again this Monday after the government said evidence given by witnesses will not be used to prosecute them over the fire.
The second phase of the inquiry, which is expected to run until next summer, was halted just over a week into hearing evidence after its chairman Martin Moore-Bick agreed to a request from individuals working for companies on the 2017 refurbishment project to allow the attorney general to decide on whether their evidence should be used in future prosecutions.
Now Suella Braverman’s office has confirmed that anything said by witnesses will not be used to prosecute them over the fire after deciding some might refuse to answer questions by claiming the legal right of privilege against self-incrimination.
Her office added: “The attorney general has concluded that the undertaking is needed to enable the inquiry to continue to hear vital evidence about the circumstances and causes of the fire. Without it she has concluded that some witnesses would be likely to decline to give evidence.”
Braverman, who took office in Boris Johnson’s reshuffle this month, spoke to the director of public prosecutions, the Health and Safety Executive and the Metropolitan Police before coming to her decision.
She said: “The undertaking I am providing to the inquiry means it can continue to take evidence from witnesses who otherwise would likely refuse to answer questions.
>> Previous story: Grenfell inquiry on hold for at least two more weeks
“These questions are important to finding out the truth about the circumstances of the fire. The undertaking will not jeopardise the police investigation or prospects of a future criminal prosecution.”
Her office added that the decision does not prevent witness evidence from being used against corporations in any future prosecution.