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  1. ITV Report

Grenfell Inquiry paused as companies request protection against self-incrimination

The Grenfell Inquiry will not sit again this week, as the panel considers a request from corporate witnesses that would prevent any evidence they give at the hearings being used against them in future criminal prosecutions.

Wall of tributes at Grenfell Tower in west London Credit: PA

Staff from firms involved in refurbishing the 24-storey block with flammable materials had been due to be cross-examined, but they submitted a last-minute legal bid seeking an Attorney General-backed pledge last Wednesday.

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox QC has the power to provide an undertaking which will stop any evidence staff give being used against them in criminal proceedings.

Protesters outside the Grenfell Tower public inquiry in London in January Credit: PA

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

On Tuesday, the inquiry wrote to core participants informing them that there will be no further hearings this week, while the panel of Sir Martin Moore-Bick and and Thouria Istephan consider the application.

The second stage of the inquiry has heard that the main designers, contractors and fire safety consultants appeared to know two years before the disaster that a planned cladding system would fail if exposed to fire, according to internal emails disclosed to the hearing.

On Monday, the inquiry's chief lawyer, Richard Millett QC, advised Sir Martin to accept the request, saying: "Without it you will not get to the truth."