Q&As

What powers does an investigator have to compel the witness to provide a statement during a criminal investigation, where a witness is known to be in the possession of crucial evidence, but is unwilling to provide a section 9 witness statement? Can the witness be forced to give evidence at trial?

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Published on LexisPSL on 16/03/2018

The following Corporate Crime Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • What powers does an investigator have to compel the witness to provide a statement during a criminal investigation, where a witness is known to be in the possession of crucial evidence, but is unwilling to provide a section 9 witness statement? Can the witness be forced to give evidence at trial?
  • Serious Fraud Office
  • The Health and Safety Executive
  • Environment agency or local authority
  • Power to compel third parties to give a witness statement for the purposes of a criminal investigation
  • Witness summons

Certain regulators have specific powers to compel witnesses to give statements during investigations. These are statutory powers which can be used during an investigation into suspected offences and the witness is compelled to attend the interview to answer questions or to provide information. However, as these are powers to compel and the witness has no right of silence as they would do in an interview under caution, there are statutory safeguards restricting the use of any information obtained from the compulsory interview powers. The contents of the interviews cannot be used in evidence against the maker in their subsequent criminal trial unless:

  1. the trial is a prosecution for an offence of providing false or misleading statements in the interview

  2. the interviewee is prosecuted for a different offence and makes an inconsistent statement

The following are examples of compulsory powers to compel a witness to give evidence at interview.

Serious Fraud Office

Compulsory interviews under section 2 of the Criminal Justice Act 1987 (CJA 1987) are an investigative power conferred to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) to investigate any suspected offence involving serious or complex fraud. CJA 1987, s 2 interview power is the power to compel:

  1. the attendance of witnesses at interview

  2. answers to questions put duri

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