The CWD Crime Team has secured another successful client outcome – this time in relation to an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). This result illustrates the importance of securing legal advice before attendance on any HSE interview held ‘under caution’.
We were instructed by a major building contractor, following an unexpected site visit earlier this year. It was alleged that an unqualified sub-contractor had been observed by an HSE inspector to carry out work on a gas installation. As a result the HSE wanted to carry out a formal interview of our client under caution, in relation to offences under The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.
Following receipt of incredibly limited written disclosure from the investigators, the decision was made to refuse the offer of an interview and instead to provide a written statement, addressing each individual point raised by the HSE.
The statement was subsequently submitted for consideration and we were delighted to hear that a decision has now been made to take no further action against our client.
It’s very important that anyone ‘invited’ in for a formal interview under caution should seek immediate legal advice before making any decision on attendance. This applies not only to the HSE, but the police, HMRC, Ofsted, The Benefits Agency or any other designated investigators. There really is no such thing as ‘being invited in for a chat’ anymore. These interviews are an evidence gathering exercise and the fact that there is an intention to caution you and record the discussion indicates a belief that you may be criminally involved.
You are not always obliged to attend such interviews and you do have a right to be represented. This is something that you must give consideration to. It’s not always the best option to leave yourself open to a barrage of questions, when a written statement can adequately express everything you have to say on the matter. Another advantage is that a statement enables the control of any account and allows the focus to remain solely on addressing the specific nature of the allegation.
If you find yourself in such a position, please do not hesitate to contact Steve Foster here at CWD.