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Grenfell Tower fire: Survivors demand criminal prosecutions as inquiry set to restart | UK News

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Grenfell survivors have said they will “not settle for anything less” than criminal prosecutions over the fire which killed 72 people.

It comes after the attorney general guaranteed that anything said by witnesses to the public inquiry will not be used to prosecute them over the disaster.

Suella Braverman wrote to Grenfell Tower Inquiry chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick, confirming that she had accepted the request from staff involved in refurbishing the high-rise block with flammable materials.

Without the guarantee, many corporate witnesses had threatened to stay silent by claiming the legal right of privilege against self-incrimination.

Survivors and victims group Grenfell United said the ruling marked a “sad day” and that “truth at the inquiry must not come at the expense of justice and prosecutions”.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 27: Survivors of the Grenfell Tower disaster and their allies protest outside the resumption of the inquiry on January 27, 2020 in London, England. The Grenfell Inquiry resumes near Paddington station in West London. (Photo by Guy Smallman/Getty Images)
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Survivors of the tragedy are demanding criminal prosecutions

They added: “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.”

Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack said firefighters who gave evidence in the inquiry would be “appalled” that the undertaking had been provided.

Mr Wrack said in a statement: “It seems there is one rule for them and another for those doing the bidding of the profiteers who turned Grenfell into a death trap.

Suella Braverman
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Suella Braverman has accepted a request from staff involved in refurbishing the high-rise block

“The truth must now come out – and those responsible must be finally held to account.”

Lawyers from firms including the main contractor and architects involved in revamping the 24-storey tower in west London submitted the last-minute bid for the pledge when the inquiry reopened in January.

Ms Braverman’s office said the attorney general “had concluded that the undertaking is needed to enable the inquiry to continue to hear vital evidence about the circumstances and causes of the fire. Without it she has concluded that some witnesses would be likely to decline to give evidence”.

The proposed undertaking will cover oral evidence from individual witnesses only.

It does not mean companies or individuals cannot be prosecuted.

Evidence given to the inquiry in written statements or documents can be used against them in any future prosecution, the attorney general’s office said.

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