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Business Crime & Fraud Services

Business Crime & Fraud

Interviews under caution

If you have been invited to an interview under caution it means that you are being investigated and are suspected of having committed a criminal offence.

Going into what can be a daunting situation, you should seek legal advice in advance. How you respond to questions during this interview can determine the future course of the investigation, including the prospect of you being charged or avoiding prosecution.

During a caution interview, anything you say can be used as evidence against you if you were prosecuted. Conversely, if you opt to remain silent your non-co-operation might be used as a weapon against you by a prosecutor. Steering between these perils is vitally important.

Criminal investigators normally invite their suspects to a caution interview. Sometimes they regard it as an opportunity for the suspect to explain their side of the story and for them to then impartially evaluate it. Sometimes they regard it as an opportunity to ambush or to press her/him into admitting fault because the investigators are already convinced the suspect is guilty. Investigators can be police officers, local government officials or a would-be private prosecutor like the Post Office or the railway companies.

No two caution interviews are the same. To elect to answer questions, not to answer them and/or deliver what lawyers call a prepared statement is a choice that you would be wise to obtain specialist legal advice about.

Our primary objective in preparing clients for interviews under caution is to reduce the risk of prosecution. But if a prosecution seems unavoidable then we can advise how to use the interview as a basis for a defence case at court.

See here for a chapter in the GIR Guide to Global Investigations, “Representing Individuals in Interviews”, written by our partners, Jessica Parker and Andrew Smith which sets out in more detail the issues likely to be relevant.

Work highlights:

  • Representing and preparing individuals for numerous interviews under caution conducted by the SFO into allegations of fraud and bribery; the FCA into allegations of insider dealing and market abuse; the NCA into allegations of breaches of financial sanctions and bribery; the HMRC into allegations of tax fraud and money laundering; and the CMA into alleged cartels.
  • Representing and preparing individuals for numerous interviews conducted by the police into allegations of white-collar crime and serious general crime, including sexual offences.