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Is the interrogation of a witness an element of intimidation or the beginning of the end?

09/ 07/ 2021
  Author: Maria Petrenko, Lawyer of Dynasty Law & Investment Can the interrogation be a threat and do I need a lawyer? In legal practice, it happens that law enforcement agencies use a summons for questioning for another, hidden purpose. Yes, lets consider this situation on the example of calls of directors or accountants, as witnesses in the investigation of tax crimes, crimes of fictitious entrepreneurship. The first step is to find out whether the interrogation is officially or not. Dont agree right away, even if you are caught unawares, on the phone or worse at home, at work. The investigator must make the summons in advance and with a formal summons. Which should include information about the full name and address of the person summoned, the criminal proceedings against whom the summons was made, as well as the rights and obligations of the witness. The summons must also state the name of the authority, the official making the call and his contact telephone number. During the interrogation, the witness has three positions: 1) silent (I refuse to testify referring to Article 63 of the Constitution of Ukraine), but such a position has disadvantages, because the refusal to testify is legal, only in relation to themselves, relatives. Therefore, if a question is raised regarding a person’s job responsibilities and their performance, the refusal to testify may be considered a violation of Article 385 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. 2) the position I will say everything I know has more negative consequences, because even if the witness really says, in his opinion, legal information about his legal actions, during the investigation such information can be used against him or the company. 3) the position is mixed controlled, the most not harmful for both parties and for the witness and for the company in which he works. In this position, the witness gives clear and specific answers to the simplest and most well-known questions without any problems. Questions about his responsibilities, but which are provocative, may have the answer I do not remember, I do not know or to answer this question, you must check the relevant official documents. During the interrogation, the investigator may also ask you about the authenticity of one or another of your signatures on the document. Since the answer to such a question may have consequences for both the individual and the company, it would be best to refuse to provide such an answer, but with reference to Article 18 of the CPC. The fundamental difference between Art. 63 of the CC is that the latter gives you the right not to testify against yourself and your loved ones, and Article 18 of the CPC protects you from testimony that may give rise to suspicion or accusation, ie expands the range of presumptions of innocence and the right to defense. Having obtained the help of this article, almost every issue that in your opinion can be the basis for accusations against you (as a director or accountant of the company), ie the person responsible not only for themselves but for the actions of the company as a whole, can be protected. In conclusion, I would like to remind you that the use of the above advice without a lawyers appointment, such as the use of drugs without a doctors prescription, is detrimental to your future occupational health.

Author: Maria Petrenko, Lawyer of Dynasty Law & Investment

Can the interrogation be a threat and do I need a lawyer?

In legal practice, it happens that law enforcement agencies use a summons for questioning for another, hidden purpose.

Yes, let’s consider this situation on the example of calls of directors or accountants, as witnesses in the investigation of tax crimes, crimes of fictitious entrepreneurship.

The first step is to find out whether the interrogation is officially or not. Don’t agree right away, even if you are caught unawares, on the phone or worse at home, at work. The investigator must make the summons in advance and with a formal summons. Which should include information about the full name and address of the person summoned, the criminal proceedings against whom the summons was made, as well as the rights and obligations of the witness. The summons must also state the name of the authority, the official making the call and his contact telephone number.

During the interrogation, the witness has three positions:

1) silent (I refuse to testify referring to Article 63 of the Constitution of Ukraine), but such a position has disadvantages, because the refusal to testify is legal, only in relation to themselves, relatives. Therefore, if a question is raised regarding a person’s job responsibilities and their performance, the refusal to testify may be considered a violation of Article 385 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

2) the position “I will say everything I know” has more negative consequences, because even if the witness really says, in his opinion, legal information about his legal actions, during the investigation such information can be used against him or the company.

3) the position is mixed “controlled”, the most not harmful for both parties and for the witness and for the company in which he works. In this position, the witness gives clear and specific answers to the simplest and most well-known questions without any problems. Questions about his responsibilities, but which are provocative, may have the answer “I do not remember”, “I do not know” or “to answer this question, you must check the relevant official documents.” During the interrogation, the investigator may also ask you about the authenticity of one or another of your signatures on the document. Since the answer to such a question may have consequences for both the individual and the company, it would be best to refuse to provide such an answer, but with reference to Article 18 of the CPC.

The fundamental difference between Art. 63 of the CC is that the latter gives you the right not to testify against yourself and your loved ones, and Article 18 of the CPC protects you from testimony that may give rise to suspicion or accusation, ie expands the range of presumptions of innocence and the right to defense. Having obtained the help of this article, almost every issue that in your opinion can be the basis for accusations against you (as a director or accountant of the company), ie the person responsible not only for themselves but for the actions of the company as a whole, can be protected.

In conclusion, I would like to remind you that the use of the above advice without a lawyer’s appointment, such as the use of drugs without a doctor’s prescription, is detrimental to your future “occupational health”.

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