The LGA has ramped up pressure on the Attorney General over the Grenfell evidence immunity decision – warning of “justice frustrated and hampered” should witnesses get their way.
Grenfell inquiry chair Sir Martin Moore-Bick has asked the Attorney General for a pledge that evidence given by corporate witnesses won’t be used prosecute them.
“We are concerned that either granting this request or, if it is denied, any subsequent refusal by witnesses to answer the Inquiry’s questions, will frustrate justice and hamper attempts to learn the lessons of Grenfell,” said Lord Porter, LGA building safety spokesman.
“Lessons which are all the more urgent given the large number of buildings still covered in dangerous cladding and the subsequent blanket of fear that remains imposed on those who live in them,” he said.
Approval of the application by the Attorney General does not grant anyone immunity from prosecution, nor does it apply to any statements or documents already in the possession of the Inquiry.
It also does not prevent the prosecuting authorities from making use of answers given by one witness in furtherance of proceedings against another.
Lawyers for corporate witnesses filed the application claiming their clients had ‘legal right’ of privilege against self-incrimination.
“All those involved in any way have a duty to fully participate in the inquiry, tell the unedited truth, answer for their actions and accept responsibility for their role in the deaths of at least 72 people and the ongoing trauma inflicted upon the survivors and the bereaved,” said Lord Porter.
“We are particularly concerned to ensure that the truth is fully exposed as swiftly as possibly in order to assist councils, fire authorities and the Government in our joint efforts to remediate dangerous cladding on hundreds of buildings across the country.
“It would be hard to imagine that in the future any council would allow the use of any products manufactured by any company who did not cooperate fully with the inquiry,” he said.
In light of Sir Martin’s ruling, the inquiry has confirmed hearings will not resume until later this month.