Thirteen ‘under caution’ interviews confirmed over Grenfell

Met Police can’t confirm how many have been questioned in the interviews but say more are to come

Grenfell 012

Thirteen interviews have been carried out under caution by detectives investigating the Grenfell disaster.

The Metropolitan Police have not confirmed how many people had been questioned in those 13 interviews – but said more interviews ”will be taking place”.

Interview under caution ensures evidence is admissible in court if charges are brought – while protecting the rights of those interviewed.

Nor is any advance offered on late 2021 for files to be sent to the CPS, as said in March this year.

The Met believes it would be “wrong” not to wait for the final report of the Grenfell inquiry acknowledged as unlikely to begin before the end of this year.

It is understood that some of those questioned were interviewed as representatives of their organisation and some as individuals.

Detectives assigned to Operation Northleigh have carried out two new interviews under caution since March working their way through hundreds of thousands of documents and  a network of contractors and sub-contractors linked to work on the tower.

As yet, there have been no arrests, with the Met maintaining a need to wait until the second phase of the Grenfell inquiry is over before submitting files to the CPS in relation to charges.

And that could take until late 2021 with specialist and  senior prosecutors almost certainly needing additional time to consider hugely complex evidence and case structures.

There is the added complication of potential prejudice of criminal trials by criticisms made by the public inquiry.

Though the inquiry is not intended to apportion blame, prosecutors have to be aware of  defence teams challenging charges because of potential prejudice to a fair trial.

The criminal inquiry, the public inquiry and the CPS have been co-operating, but the Northleigh team is said to still have “masses” of evidence to process and examine.

In a statement released today (June 7) the Met said: “A total of 13 interviews under caution have been completed and more are scheduled. This number will continue to increase as progress is made with the investigation.”

Interview under caution ensures evidence is admissible in court if charges are brought – while protecting the rights of those interviewed.

Operation Northleigh is acknowledged among the biggest and most complex investigations ever undertaken by the Met with possible offences including manslaughter, corporate manslaughter, misconduct in public office and breaches of fire safety regulations.

The investigation team has gathered more than 30m documents and 2,500 physical exhibits.

More than 7,000 statements have been taken and some 383 companies are part of the investigation focussing on the construction, refurbishment and management of the tower.

Well over 300 Body Worn Video clips have been downloaded for viewing and, where their role is considered relevant, digital downloads of all business records are being recovered.

Specialist software is employed to enable investigators to process and search documents to secure material that may be relevant as evidence.

The forensic examination of the tower included photographing and documenting every room on every floor, paying particular attention to fire safety provisions such as fire doors, the standards of construction work, the routing of pipework and smoke extraction systems.

 

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