UK deferred prosecution agreements could put individuals’ rights to a fair trial at risk, investigations lawyers said at GIR’s third annual conference in London. Partner David Corker delivered his comments during a panel discussion featuring a host of people who’ve worked on recent high-profile corporate settlements.
Speaking from the floor at GIR Live on 27 April, David Corker at Corker Binning said the UK’s Serious Fraud Office may have made a “big mistake” bringing the Rolls-Royce and Tesco deferred prosecution agreements (DPA) as it could result in individuals claiming they can’t access a fair trial. He said: “The SFO’s desire to do settlements with the companies may have blinded the SFO to the effects on the trials of individuals.”
Earlier in the session Corker pointed out that pre-trial publicity arising from a corporate settlement can be a problem and could potentially prejudice the trial of an individual. He said: “It’s a judge saying that he acted in a dishonest way, and nothing can be more prejudicial than that and therefore there should be no trial.”
Corker added that there could be an abuse of process in the trials of individuals if prosecutors argue a different and conflicting set of facts than those presented in the company’s DPA. “Lawyers acting for individuals should research exactly how the SFO presented facts to the high court to see if there’s any inconsistency in how they’re presenting it to the Crown Court,” he said.
Read the full article in GIR here.