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Intimidating a witness charge

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If a witness becomes a potential suspect in the course of taking a witness statement from him/her, you must stop the interview and offer to conduct an interview under caution. Only if the witness declines to provide you with a statement voluntarily should you consider exercising your powers under section 20(2)(j) to take a compelled statement. [Section 31 (Law enforcement) exemption Freedom of Information Act 2000] 21.

Where a witness refuses to give a voluntary (s9 CJA) statement and you compel them to give a statement under s20 of HSWA you should consider how these compelled statements can be used if you need to rely on the evidence they contain. Form LP7 (s20) does not contain the perjury declaration and does not comply with the provisions of s9 CJA.

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Under s9 CJA the contents of a written statement will be admissible, without the witness attending court to give oral evidence, if the following conditions are satisfied: 6.

You should also ensure that the witness understands the perjury declaration (see above) contained in a s9 statement before signing. In most cases, witnesses will be willing to cooperate with your investigation.

(A) No person shall knowingly attempt to intimidate or hinder the victim of a crime or delinquent act in the filing or prosecution of criminal charges or a delinquent child action or proceeding, and no person shall knowingly attempt to intimidate a witness to a criminal or delinquent act by reason of the person being a witness to that act.

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A violation of division (B) of this section is a felony of the third degree.

If a witness is unsure as to whether they wish to provide a voluntary statement, you will need to carefully explain your reasons for interviewing him/her and that s/he is not being treated as a suspect.

You may explain that, if s/he will not volunteer relevant information or feels that circumstances prevent him/her from doing so, you can use your powers to require that information. Where you have grounds to suspect that a person may have committed an offence, you should not treat him as a witness but should offer him/her an interview under caution instead. Whenever you take a statement (whether compelled or not) you should record whether you have exercised your section 20(2)(j) power in your notebook, in case this is raised at a later date.

A witness statement is a document recording the evidence of a person, which is signed by that person to confirm that the contents of the statement are true. A statement should record what the witness saw, heard or felt. Section 20(2)(j) HSWA gives you the power to require any person whom you have reasonable cause to believe will be able to provide information relevant to your examination or investigation, to answer such questions as you think fit to ask and to sign a declaration of the truth of the answers. Information obtained using this power should be recorded in the form of a statement using form LP7 and, if required, the continuation form LP8. You should only record the information provided to you by the witness, i.e. It is essential that you make it clear to the witness that you are using your compulsory powers before asking any questions. Answers given by a person compelled to answer your questions are not admissible against that person or their spouse or civil partner (section 20(7) HSWA, as amended). When you take a statement from a witness, you should, wherever possible, take a statement under section 9 CJA as there are limitations on how a compelled (s20) statement can be used in legal proceedings. The witness should be asked if s/he agrees to give you a voluntary statement.

However, it is also important to record anything that may open up a new line of enquiry or help in corroborating other information. A s9 statement is taken from a person who has voluntarily given the statement. If they do, their evidence should be recorded on an LP70. You should ensure that the witness has the opportunity to check the contents of the statement and make any corrections before s/he signs it.

The document also says Fuller, Truvia and attorney Gregory Carter made unauthorized jail visits to clients of other attorneys in New Orleans, with the alleged intent of dissuading inmates from testifying against defendants Fuller represented.

The document also alleges a similar visit by Fuller and Truvia to a defendant jailed in Jefferson Parish.

A source at one of the recipient law enforcement agencies allowed the 206-page report to be reviewed by | The Times-Picayune, but the source was not authorized to speak on its contents.

The memorandum accuses Fuller and his investigator Earl Truvia of jeopardizing witnesses' safety by violating the confidences of some of their own clients who intended to cooperate with state prosecutors.

Local and federal law enforcement agencies have been warned of possible witness tampering incidents involving prominent New Orleans defense attorney John Fuller and his associates, in an unprecedented 206-page report issued July 8 by District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro's office.

Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro is alleging that prominent defense attorney John Fuller and two of his associates engaged in witness tampering or intimidation, indicating in an internal document for law enforcement agencies that federal investigators are examining the allegations.