Involvement in a criminal investigation is extraordinarily stressful for a practitioner working in the health and social care sector. Nobody thinks that their professional practice will result in them being under investigation for suspected crimes, or that they will be sitting in a police station being interviewed under caution. However, as recent high-profile prosecutions for gross-negligence manslaughter have shown, that is a real risk
Criminal investigation process and procedures
First notification of a criminal investigation may be by contact from the police seeking a date for a voluntary interview, or arrest.
Whatever has happened, advice from experienced criminal lawyers with knowledge of the healthcare regulatory landscape can make the difference between swift resolution and a protracted investigation. Further, statements and evidence given in criminal investigations may be shared by the police with professional regulatory bodies. Careful consideration needs to be given to the approach in criminal investigations involving healthcare professionals. An act which is not a crime may still constitute serious misconduct in the regulatory context. Equally, a caution may seem like an attractive means of avoiding a police investigation. However it involves admission of the offence and a professional is likely to be under a professional obligation to notify their regulator.
How can we help
We provide legal advice that addresses the problem at hand, but avoids steps that may have unforeseen consequences. We can guide and advise you through this worrying process. We have been involved in many high-profile criminal trials and appeals, and we are experienced in dealing with serious allegations of:
- Fraud — such as forged prescriptions;
- Theft — including the theft of medication for the practitioner’s own use;
- Sexual assault — either involving a patient or colleague;
- Gross negligence manslaughter;
- Corporate homicide; and
- Health and safety prosecutions.
The outcome of a police investigation or trial will determine your professional future and we believe that by taking early legal advice you can make informed decisions about how you respond to criminal allegations and maximise your prospects of securing a satisfactory outcome from the process.
We have the experience and knowledge to advise and represent you at the police station, through every step of the criminal process when charges are pursued. We advise and represent healthcare practitioners in the magistrates court, the crown court and through to appeal. Our knowledge of and expertise within the wider regulatory landscape mean we are able to provide seamless support and guidance in the event of parallel investigations by a healthcare professional regulator.