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02 March 2020
WHO HAS SAID WHAT ABOUT IMMUNITY BEING GRANTED?
The attorney general, Rt Hon Suella Braverman QC MP, has said that any and all things said by witnesses to the Grenfell Tower inquiry will not be used as evidence towards prosecuting them. Now both the attorney general and the chairman of the inquiry has backed the demand for immunity from witnesses.
With witnesses claiming they would stay silent and decline to give evidence if they were not granted immunity the second phase of the Grenfell Tower inquiry has been paused for several weeks. Although, witnesses have only been granted immunity on the oral evidence that they submit. The immunity does not cover document and or evidence given from the corporations themselves
The attorney general said the guarantee was needed to "enable the inquiry to continue to hear vital evidence about the circumstances and causes of the fire".
"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.
“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."
Whereas, the inquiry chairman claimed that he accepted the request for immunity as he believes that it gives the inquiry the best chance of hearing a truthful account. As a result, this allows the chairman to make recommendations for the future based on the fullest body of evidence available.
In comparison, Grenfell United, a survivors and victim group, said that “truth at the inquiry must not come at the expense of justice and prosecutions” and the granting of the immunity marked a “sad day”.
Grenfell United continued by saying:
“Grenfell was a tragedy but it was not an accident. “The people responsible for knowingly encasing our families in a death trap and the people that allowed them to do it must face the full force of the law.
“We expect criminal prosecutions at the end of this and will not settle for anything less.”
PROTEST AS INQUIRY STARTS
The inquiry was set to start on Monday 2nd March, yet it was halted when activists stood up and shouted: “it was cover-up”. Tensions are rising as the nation watches; activists branded the inquiry a “disgrace” as firefighters who gave evidence in the first phase of the inquiry were not granted immunity from prosecution which has raised the question of the fairness of the inquiry. The activists slated the chairman of the inquiry by saying that he has “sold his soul”, resultingly the activists were removed but refused until Stuart Cundy, the lead officer from the Metropolitan police investigation intervened.
This latest immunity saga should not detract from the real issue of finding out the truth and bringing those accountable to the forefront for the tragic deaths of the 72 residents of Grenfell.
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